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North Carolina Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program EFNEP

The EFNEP program reaches out to limited-resource families with young children through a series of lessons, often over several months, by paraprofessionals and volunteers, many of whom are indigenous to the population. Using “hands-on” experiences, clients participate in a six-lesson or more series on stretching food dollars, improving eating habits, and practicing food safety principles.In Cleveland County:

  • Number of program families enrolled: 178
  • Number of persons in program families: 649
  • Families enrolled in one or more food assistance programs: 171 (96%)
  • Additional families receiving assistance as a result of EFNEP: 1 (1%)

Adult Program Impacts

Data from the EFNEP Evaluation/Reporting System are used to measure food practices and dietary improvements. Ten key food-related practices were measured at entry into EFNEP and upon graduation. These behavioral changes translate into significant improvements in daily living skills. Results based on data from 96 graduates show that:

  • 86% improved in one or more food resource management practices (i.e. plans meals, compares prices, does not run out of food, or uses grocery lists);
  • 89% improved in one or more nutrition practices (i.e., makes healthy food choices, prepares foods without adding salt, plans meals, reads nutrition labels, or has children eat breakfast); and
  • 82% improved one or more of the food safety practices (i.e., thawing and storing foods properly).
  • 48% more often used a list for grocery shopping.
  • 63% more now read food labels to select foods with less fat.
  • 33% more participants now use low fat milk.

Dietary Changes

The dietary intake of six key nutrients that are often limited in the diets of low-income audiences- protein, iron, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B- are also measured. Intake levels for each nutrient increased as a result of participation in EFNEP. There were also substantial improvements in the intake of food to meet the recommendations of the Food Guide Pyramid. Servings increased as follows: 18% in the Vegetable Group, and 25% in the Calcium/Dairy group.

Obesity Prevention

EFNEP also works with participants on overweight/obesity prevention. Some behavior indicators of that are:

  • 91% showed positive change in at least one food group at exit.
  • 14% increase in fiber consumption at the recommended level.
  • 67% more drink at least 6 cups of water a day.
  • 48% more engage in moderate physical activity at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Success Story

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand washing is “the single most effective way to prevent the transmission of disease.” Cleveland County EFNEP provided nutrition education to students enrolled in the GED program at the local community college June. Their eyes were opened to the importance of proper hand washing using Glo Germ and a black light. The group was surprised to learn how easily germs could be transmitted from one person to another. As a result of the program, 82% improved their food safety practices. Overweight and obesity are health risks facing a large percentage of Americans. During an EFNEP lesson conducted through a GED class, one activity revealed that students of the class were eating helpings rather then servings of foods. Almost all of the students stated that they felt they were overweight and each one indicated the need and desire to make changes in their eating habits. By learning to follow the guidelines and recommendations from My Pyramid and by learning to read food labels, students indicated the ability to better restrict their intake of excess fat, calories and sugar.

    Program Volunteers:

    Volunteers support the program in a variety of ways including: Serving on advisory committees, program recruitment, instructional assistance and resource and facility procurement. A total of 27 volunteers contributed 208 hours in support of the adult and youth components of the program. “These volunteers are the Champions of EFNEP!”