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A Nutrition Education Program That Helps Families Make Healthful Choices

The Issue

People who are most "food insecure"--those unable to use traditional means for acquiring and managing their family food supply--are at greater risk for obesity and poor health. That fact, confirmed by a recent UC study, is one reason that poor health is more common among low-income and minority populations.

Obesity is not just a matter of personal health. It is a costly and deadly public health concern that affects economic productivity and state budgets as well as personal and family well-being.

What Has ANR Done?

For more than 30 years UCCE's federally-funded Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), has helped California youth and families with young children develop healthy eating and lifestyle practices. This unique program delivers research-based education in classroom and community group settings to help Californians with limited resources make better nutrition and health decisions.

EFNEP currently operates its adult program in 17 California counties and its youth program in 10. Paraprofessionals and volunteers, many of whom are members of the target population, deliver EFNEP as a series of group lessons. EFNEP youth programs are presented at schools, after-school care sites and community centers.

The Payoff

EFNEP helps families spend less and get more nutritious food

During 2001-2002, EFNEP reached 49,191 people through the adult program and 36,717 youths. A post-survey showed improvements in food management, diet and safety:

75% of participating adults improved in one or more methods of food management (plans meals, compares prices, does not run out of food).

82% improved in one or more nutrition practices (makes healthy food choices, reads nutrition labels, has children eat breakfast).

59% of improved in one or more food safety practices such as thawing and storing food properly.

Clientele Testimonial

Participants wrote these comments:
“EFNEP helped my family eat better food. We buy food that’s good for us and we don’t spend so much money.”
“Because of what I learned at EFNEP I now thaw frozen chicken in the refrigerator and I wash my hands a lot when fixing food.”


Supporting Unit: EFNEP

Barbara Sutherland, Ph.D., EFNEP Statewide Director, Department of Nutrition, UC Davis
Room 3150C Meyer Hall, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95615-8783 (530) 752 7899