Story by Susan Baker
Colorado State University Extension is celebrating 50 years of assisting limited-resource families with improving their nutritional well-being through its Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). In Colorado, EFNEP targets adults with children in the home, high school aged teens, and 3rd to 5th graders.
EFNEP, a nationwide community nutrition education program, began at Colorado State University in 1969 and is active in all 50 states and U.S. territories. Currently Colorado Extension EFNEP reaches citizens in Arapahoe, Denver, Pueblo, and Weld counties as well as the San Luis Valley.
Through a series of free, hands-on, healthy eating and active living lessons taught by CSU Extension EFNEP educators, participants learn how to make healthier food choices, use proper food safety techniques and increase physical activity for themselves and their families.
EFNEP reaches adult participants by collaborating with human service agencies who provide access to their participants, offer classroom space, childcare and transportation to EFNEP classes.
In 2018, Colorado EFNEP educators taught over 6,000 nutrition classes to 1,125 adults, indirectly reaching an additional 3,865 family members.
After participating in EFNEP classes:
- 83% of adults reported exercising 30 minutes a day or more;
- 92% ate more fruits, vegetables and less surgery drinks;
- 79% washed hands before they prepared food, thawed foods in refrigerator, and used food thermometers; and
- 86% compared prices, and planned meals to save money at the grocery store.
In 2018, EFNEP educators taught 1,173 third, fourth and fifth graders, and teens.
After EFNEP classes, third, four and fifth graders,
- 88% ate more fruits and vegetables, and drank less sugary drinks;
- 42% exercised at least 30 minutes a day; and
- 49% washed their hands before preparing food or eating.
After EFNEP classes teens,
- 95% ate more fruits and vegetables, and drank less sugary drinks;
- 77% exercised 30 minutes or more a day; and
- 58% washed their hands before preparing and eating food.
“When individuals participate in EFNEP, the changes they make are long-term and impact the whole family,” said Brigid McDonnell, CSU EFNEP supervisor.
For more information about Colorado EFNEP, visit the EFNEP website.