The burden of obesity disproportionately influences poor health outcomes in rural communities in the United States. Various social and environmental factors contribute to inadequate food access and availability in rural areas, influencing dietary intakes and food insecurity rates. This study aims to identify patterns related to food insecurity and fruit and vegetable consumption within a SNAP-eligible and low-income, highly obese rural Appalachian community. A prospective cohort was implemented to identify gaps in resources addressing obesity and food insecurity challenges. SAS 9.4 software was used to examine differences in dietary intakes and shopping practices among SNAP participants. Among participants (n = 152), most reported an annual household income less than USD 20,000 (n = 90, 60.4%), 29.1% reported food insecurity, and 39.5% reported receiving SNAP benefits within the last month. The overall mean FV intake was 3.46 daily servings (95% CI: 3.06–3.91) among all participants. SNAP participation was associated with food insecurity (p = 0.007) and those participating in SNAP were two times more likely to report being food insecure (OR = 2.707, 95% CI: 1.317, 5.563), relative to non-participants. These findings further depict the need for intervention, as the burden of food insecurity persists. Tailoring health-promoting initiatives to consider rurality and SNAP participation is vital for sustainable success among these populations.

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Published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, v. 17, issue 7, 6037.

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This research was funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO), Cooperative Agreement number 1NU58DP0065690100.