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Family Nutrition Program (FNP): Helping Low Resource Families and Youth Make Healthy Choices

The NDSU Extension Service offers SNAP-Ed through the Family Nutrition Program (FNP) to individuals who are recipients of or eligible for SNAP benefits. Through a series of lessons or one-time programs, FNP educators use evidence-based content to teach participants nutrition-related knowledge and skills. Here is a summary of the impacts FNP 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 chronic disease and a variety of poor health outcomes.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a supportive program for food-insecure families. An estimated 81,196 North Dakotans received SNAP benefits in 2014 and 46% of those recipients were under the age of 18. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) works to increase the likelihood that SNAP eligibles will make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles. Every $1 spent on nutrition education saves as much as $10 in long-term health care costs.

Extension Response

The NDSU Extension Service offers SNAP-Ed through the Family Nutrition Program (FNP) to individuals who are recipients of or eligible for SNAP benefits. Through a series of lessons or onetime programs, FNP educators use evidence-based content to teach participants nutrition-related knowledge and skills. Focus areas include:

 

  • Increased fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Balancing healthful food with physical activity
  • Getting the most nutrition for the money

Impacts

In program year 2014, FNP provided direct education to 2,697 eligible adults and 8,450 youth across North Dakota. Additionally, indirect education efforts, including nutrition education articles and community events, reached over 56,710 contacts.

FNP participants reported improved nutrition, food safety, and food resource management behaviors following FNP lessons including:

  • 86% of youth eat more fruit and 56% eat more vegetables
  • 61% of youth drink less soda pop
  • 90% of youth are more physically active
  • 63% of adults adopted at least one habit to spend their food dollars more wisely
  • 71% of adults usually make meals at home after lessons compared to 29% before lessons 

Feedback

“We have all made a more positive effort to eat healthier and drink more water. The children enjoy having something to tell us they learned, having input and opinions on choices, healthier choices.” - Mother of FNP youth

“I feel healthier and eating right is becoming a habit.” - FNP youth

“When planning and shopping for my meals, I am using the Stretching Your Food Dollars materials to help me stay within my food budget.” - FNP adult

“Thanks again for all your support in making our school environment such a healthy one.” – School Food Service Director

Contact

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

 

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