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.  EFNEP improves the health and well-being of participants by teaching them how to stretch food dollars and how to prepare nutritious foods. 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. Participants do not receive food or vouchers for food. 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 2012, EFNEP served 2,033program families (86 percent female and 14 percent male). Breakdown by race included: 24 percent white, 6 percent African American, 10 percent American Indian, 1 percent Asian and 59 percent Hispanic. Youth participants numbered 5,604 youth (50 percent male and 50 percent female); 82 percent were as young, or younger than, fourth graders. Fifteen FTE paraprofessional nutrition educators delivered the program with assistance from 691 volunteers.  


Eighty-five percent of the participants completed their classes in 2012, and 100 percent attended group classes. Post-participation dietary surveys from 1,688 persons showed that 78 percent choose healthier foods than before, 49 percent now read labels, 46 percent thaw food according to directions, 37 percent used a grocery list to shop, 39 percent planned meals in advance, 35 percent ran out of food less often, 31 percent don’t let food sit out for more than 2 hours and 30 percent of the children ate breakfast more often. Overall, 69 percent improved one or more food resource management skills; 78 percent showed improvement in one or more of their nutrition practices and 55 percent now follow recommended food safety practices (97 percent of 2,033 adult EFNEP participants completed a class in food safety) , and 1200 now participate in some type of daily physical activity.  

Conact Name: 
Scottie Misner
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