And USDA supports and conducts research on the nature and extent of nutrition education in the United States. Three USDA speakers at the workshop described these programs and summarized this research.


Both EFNEP and SNAP-Ed employ a social ecological framework for nutrition and physical activity decisions (see Figure 4-1) and a community nutrition education model for programmatic decisions (see Figure 4-2), said Helen Chipman, national program leader in the Nutrition Division of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Standards for nutrition education play a role in each of these models, as they do in the programs these models inform.

The purpose of EFNEP is to bring together federal, state, and local resources to improve the health and well-being of limited-resource families and youth. Created in 1969 and administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, it currently is provided by 75 land-grant universities in all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia (USDA-NIFA, 2013) and had a federal allocation in fiscal year (FY) 2012 of $67.9 million (P.L. 112-55, Div. A). It uses a paraprofessional model to provide education by peers, which can foster behavioral change at the local level and within communities. It also uses a series of hands-on, interactive lessons and a learner-centered approach that extends across the lifespan and has a strong structure for supervision and for the delivery of content knowledge.

EFNEP addresses four core areas:

  1. Health issues, including diet quality and physical activity education;
  2. Food access and security issues;
  3. Economic issues, including food resource management education; and
  4. Food safety issues.

The program has a strong data collection component. Data collection provides focus, facilitates program accountability, informs program leadership decisions, guides program management decisions, and is useful for all users at the local, state, and national levels, said Chipman. These data reveal that the program is available in approximately 800 counties and directly reaches more than 130,000 adults and 450,000 youth, and indirectly reaches nearly 400,000 family members. Approximately 85 percent of EFNEP families are at or below the poverty line, earning $22,350 a year or less for a family of four, and 73 percent of EFNEP adults are minorities (USDA-NIFA, 2013). Among youth and children, more than two-thirds are

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