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Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP): Empowering Families and Youth to Lead Healthier Lives

The NDSU Extension Service offers the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) to North Dakota families at risk for food insecurity. EFNEP focuses on working with limited resource adults with children in the household and youth from homes with limited resources. Here is a summary of the impacts EFNEP made in North Dakota in 2014.

The Situation

Overweight and obesity continues to be a national and statewide public health crisis. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), North Dakota has the 15th highest rate of adult obesity; 67% of adults in the state are obese or overweight. In the last thirty years the number of overweight children and adolescents has increased 100%. In North Dakota, 15% of 10-17 year olds are obese or overweight. Higher levels of obesity are seen in certain populations, with American Indian children showing the highest rates of obesity at 21%. Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults with an increased risk for poor health outcomes. Obesity and chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease are more prevalent in families in poverty.

Extension Response

The NDSU Extension Service offers the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) to low resource North Dakota families. Adult EFNEP focuses on working with low income adults with children in the household.

Adult EFNEP provides a series of free lessons with evidence-based content aimed at cultivating positive nutrition, food safety, physical  activity and food resource management practices. After a series of five or more lessons, EFNEP participants are eligible for graduation and complete a food recall and survey to assess their knowledge and behavior changes.

Youth EFNEP works with local youth groups to provide complementary programming to increase fruit, vegetable, and low-fat dairy intake and balance healthful food with physical activity.

Impacts

In a 2001 multi-state analysis that included North Dakota, the estimated benefit-cost ratio was $8.82 worth of benefits for every $1.00 spent on EFNEP.

For program year 2014, North Dakota EFNEP had 126 adult graduates and 1,593 youth participants. EFNEP graduates reported improved nutrition, food safety, and food resource management behaviors:

  • 83% improved at least one nutrition practice
  • 79% improved at least one food resource management practice
  • 47% improved at least one food safety practice

Feedback

“My mom and I are using the meal planner pad I got in class. It really helps when grocery shopping, it has saved us money. We are enjoying planning meals." - EFNEP young mom

“I watch my portion sizes and don’t sit down with the whole bag anymore, I put some in a bowl and put the rest away. I’m into walking a lot and feel so good.” - EFNEP adult graduate

"I keep a special folder with all the recipes you give us, and each weekend I let the kids pick out a new one, or I make them what we made in class.” - EFNEP young mom

“I’m reading labels to get the healthier foods.” - EFNEP teen

Contact

Megan Ness, MS RD
EFNEP/FNP Coordinator
NDSU Dept 7270, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108
(701) 231-6515

 

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