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 six to eight classes on family nutrition and diet for good health, meal planning and food preparation, food storage, 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 2010, EFNEP served 2,994 program families (an increase from 2751 last year). Adult participants were 83 percent female and 17 percent male. Breakdown by race included: 28 percent white, 6 percent African American, 8 percent American Indian and 58 percent Hispanic. However, youth numbered 7,104, an increase of 583, with 52 percent male and 48 percent female; 82 percent of the youth participants were as young, or younger than fourth graders. About 370 volunteers assisted with family nutrition education.


Ninety-six percent of the participants completed their classes in 2010, up from 94 percent last year, and 98 percent attended group classes. Post-participation dietary surveys from 1,970 persons showed that overall 61 percent improved one or more food resource management skills; 72 percent showed improvement in one of their nutrition practices and 59 percent now follow recommended food safety practices; and 1,200 now participate in some type of daily physical activity.

Conact Name: 
Scottie Misner
Contact E-mail: