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Family Nutrition Program (FNP) Helps North Dakota Families Eat Better for Less

Families receiving food assistance who participate in FNP gain valuable skills to eat healthfully and economically, which not only benefits them but all of North Dakota by decreasing the need for public assistance and the collective health care costs of poor nutrition.

The Situation

Overweight and obesity continue 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 17th highest rate of adult obesity; 31% of adults in the state are obese (2015). Additionally, 14% of North Dakota high school students are obese, the 14th highest in the nation (2015). Certain populations, including women and children of low-income status, have higher rates of obesity (NHANES). Obese children are more likely to become obese adults with an increased risk for chronic disease and higher health care costs. Nationally, obesity-related health care costs average $190 billion a year (Cawley & Meyerhoefer, 2012).

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a supportive program for food-insecure families. An estimated 80,726 North Dakotans received SNAP benefits in 2015 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 with a limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles.

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 one-time 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

During program year 2016, FNP provided direct education to 4,015 eligible adults and 10,507 youth across North Dakota. Additionally, indirect education efforts, including nutrition education articles and community events, reached over 43,057 contacts.

FNP participants reported improved health and food resource management behaviors following FNP lessons including:

  • 85% of youth eat more fruit and 69% eat more vegetables
  • 51% of youth choose healthier snacks
  • 61% of youth are more physically active
  • 71% of adults adopted at least one habit to spend their food dollars more wisely
  • 60% of adults usually make meals at home

FNP worked with 205 partners across the state to provide education and encourage supportive policy and environmental changes. These efforts included working with 63 low-income schools on initiatives including school gardens and improving the school lunchroom environment.

Feedback

“My dad asked me if I wanted a pop but I asked if I could have water instead.” - 2nd grade student


“I learned how to save money by unit pricing.” - Head Start parent


“We’ve made a point of doing more, I’m sure we’ve doubled our physical activity for sure, if not more.”- Elementary school teacher


“I am excited to help promote your classes at this facility. I would love to attend the classes myself.”- Social Services eligibility worker

Public Value Statement

Families receiving food assistance who participate in FNP gain valuable skills to eat healthfully and economically, which not only benefits them but all of North Dakota by decreasing the need for public assistance and the collective health care costs of poor nutrition.

IMPACT STATEMENT - PDF Version

Primary Contact

Megan Ness Ditterick, MS RD
Specialist & Coordinator, FNP & EFNEP
● 701-231-6515

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