Sharman J. Charles
Maintaining healthy choices may be difficult for limited-resource individuals and families. Many times, limited-resource families live in areas with inadequate access to health care and healthy food options. Because of unhealthy eating habits and reduced access to physical activity, limited-resource families run higher risks for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension and other diseases.
Since 1969, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program has educated limited-resource families and youth in Louisiana, teaching them to develop skills to make healthy changes that will lead to improved diets and nutritional well-being. Through EFNEP’s ”hands-on” approach, participants learn to make behavioral changes and improve the nutritional quality of meals for their families.
Prior to nutrition education, the participant said, “I had heard about this program and knew people who enjoyed it, but I didn’t become interested in learning about nutrition until my doctor told me about my health problems.”
Since finishing the EFNEP program the participant said, “I try my very hardest to stick to eating a variety of foods, like chicken, turkey, popcorn, lots of fruits and vegetables, very few sodas, and plenty of water.” She also stated, “When I went to my doctor for a checkup, he was very pleased with my weight loss, and I plan to continue eating my new diet and walking regularly.”
As a result of participating in the EFNEP program, a youth participant was able to understand MyPlate and place the food items in the right food groups. The participant said, “Learning about nutrition each month really helped me learn how to have a healthy diet” (after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at 10 years old). The youth participant also said, “I’ve learned how important it is to watch my diet and how not to eat junk foods like I used to.”
After completing the series of youth nutrition lessons, the youth was able to build a healthy plate and help his mom meal plan and prepare his meals to fit his diet. The participant said, “My A1C is at a good level, and I know it’s because I’m learning nutrition.”
The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program’s mission is to empower families to make informed decisions about meal management. Here is confirmation that the EFNEP program is changing lives.
If you or someone you know is interested in participating in the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), contact your nearest LSU AgCenter Extension Service office.
Sharman J. Charles, Instructor (EFNEP Program Director)
School of Nutrition and Food Sciences
This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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