Better Nutrition Through EFNEP

Research Year: 

EFNEP, the federally funded Extension Food and Nutrition Education Program, addresses the needs of low-income, minority families and youth nationwide. The goal is to teach families with children how to stretch their limited food dollars, plan and prepare nutritious foods and make informed choices about food and other lifestyle issues that support family health and well-being. Funded nationally by the USDA, EFNEP is staffed locally in each state and the U.S. territories by Extension-trained nutrition educators.

Description of Action: 

Arizona’s EFNEP program is offered in 5 of the state's 15 counties—Cochise, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal and Santa Cruz. The national standardized EFNEP curriculum includes classes on family nutrition and diet for good health, meal planning and food preparation, comparison shopping and food safety. Food or vouchers for food are not provided to participants. The goal is to help adults and youth change their behavior by learning how to select nutritionally sound diets, thus promoting family health and nutritional well-being. In 2009, EFNEP served 2,768 program families (representing approximately 8,500 to 10,000 family members) who attended classes across Arizona. Youth numbered 6,521 (an increase from 4,702 youth last year); 94 percent of youth participants were 5th grade or younger. The Arizona EFNEP program included 61 percent minorities (Hispanic, African-American and American Indian); 49 percent of EFNEP adults participated in one or more food assistance programs such as food stamps or WIC. About 370 volunteers assisted with family nutrition education.


Ninety-eight percent of the 2,768 participants completed their classes, up from 96 percent of 3,069 adults in 2008. Post-participation dietary surveys from 2,768 persons showed that overall 58 percent improved their food resource management skills, 63 percent improved their nutrition practices and 51 percent now follow recommended food safety practices. Their food resource management skills increased from 22 to 43 percent and food safety practices increased from 42 to 73 percent after program participation; 2,109 now participate in some type of physical activity daily.

Conact Name: 
Scottie Misner
Contact E-mail: