Online Program

Will kids use coupons to buy healthier snacks? Initial findings from the CHOMPS Project

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Megan E Lehnerd, MS, Agriculture, Food, & Environment Program, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA
Sean Cash, PhD, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA
Anna McAlister, PhD, Department of Advertising + Public Relations, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Christina D. Economos, PhD, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA
Katherine H Panarella, MS, MPH, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy/School of Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, MA
Introduction: Children spend considerable amounts of money on independent food purchases in convenience stores, with much of this spent on energy-dense, nutrient-poor (EDNP) foods. However, little is understood about how to influence this behavior to improve diets. The Coupons for Healthier Options for Minors Purchasing Snacks (CHOMPS) is a USDA-funded pilot project set in Somerville, MA aimed at assessing the potential for kids-only coupons to guide children away from EDNP foods and towards more healthful alternatives when shopping in small retail outlets during non-school time.  Methods: The three-step intervention involves 1) a natural observation phase, in which baseline data are collected about children’s purchasing habits; 2) a “coupon intervention” phase, in which coupons of various discount amounts are put in place for both healthier and competing snacks to gauge children’s price responsiveness; and 3) an individual assessment phase, in which potential child shoppers participate in individual interviews about the in-store coupons, as well as language and cognitive assessments. Results: This session will report on the results of the first two phases of the pilot round (Feb. 2014 – June 2015), focusing on the observed purchase patterns of children in participating convenience stores and their responses to the coupon intervention in these stores.  Additionally, initial results from the individual assessment phase will be discussed. Discussion: Our initial results indicate that kids-only coupons could play a role in shifting snacking behavior, and future research will explore the scalability of the CHOMPS project into additional rural and urban environments.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the individual purchasing potential of children. Discuss the design of a coupon intervention for children shopping in small, neighborhood retail outlets during non-school time.

Keyword(s): Nutrition, Community-Based Research (CBPR)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As both a masters and a doctoral student, I have worked as the project manager for multiple federally and privately funded grants focusing on the improvement of food access and community health outcomes. Among my scientific interests has been the development of strategies for health promotion and obesity reduction in children and adolescents, in both inside and outside school environments.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.