Thursday, December 20, 2012

MU Extension Family Nutrition Education Program Reaches Over 41,200 in Greene County During 2012

University of Missouri Extension Family Nutrition Education Programs (FNEP) reached 41,200 low-income participants with direct nutrition education in Greene County during 2012.

The goal of direct teaching in FNEP is to conduct an average of six classes with each client, to promote behavioral change. A significant number of Greene County residents (44,981) also participated in these Extension programs through indirect teaching methods at venues like food pantries and school and community health fairs.

Nutrition education for youth provides information in kid-friendly terms and lessons with hands-on activities. Activities include opportunities for taste-testing healthy foods and practicing skills that lead to good health. Education for adults includes nutrition, food safety, physical activity, and food resource management.

“FNEP reached Greene County youth and adults by partnering with Greene County schools, community groups and agencies,” said Pam Duitsman, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Programs offered in the county during 2012 included a variety of curricula, methods and tools that provide programming specific to a client’s needs considering age, culture, reading level and abilities; supports Missouri’s School Wellness Policies; and aligns with the Department of Education’s (DESE) grade level expectations.

“Our lessons with hands-on activities are designed for youth and the adults that support them, pregnant teens, and immigrant populations,” said Duitsman.

MU Extension nutrition programs were held at the following Greene County locations during 2012: Pregnancy Care Center; Springfield/Greene County WIC Clinic; Southwest Missouri Office on Aging; Price Cutter Grocery Store Classroom; and Victory Mission Family Ministries.

In-classroom education was also offered by MU Extension at Logan Rogersville Elementary and Primary schools; Messiah Lutheran Church; Ash Grove Elementary; Bois D’Arc Elementary; Campbell Small Wonders; Carver Middle School; Fair Grove Elementary; Fair Grove Middle School; Grant Head Start; Stewart Head Start; Hope Child Care Center; Jarrett Middle School; Messiah Lighthouse Child and Family Development Center Preschool/Daycare; Reed Middle School; Safe N Sound Playground Child Care Center; Shady Dell Early Childhood Center; Smart Start Daycare and Preschool; South Elementary; Study Middle School; Sunshine Elementary; Walnut Grove Elementary; Willard North, Central Elementary, East, South and Orchard Hills elementaries; and the following elementary schools in Springfield: York, Bissett, Boyd, Cowden, Holland, Horace Mann, Jeffries, Mark Twain, McGregor, Pittman, Price, Robberson, Sequiota, Shady Dell, Sherwood, Sunshine, Watkins, Weaver and Westport.

Show-Me Nutrition educational displays that incorporate different nutrition messages were also maintained at the following Greene County locations: Central Assembly of God Food Pantry; Crosslines Food Pantry; Fair Grove Farmer’s Market; Southwest Missouri Office on Aging; Hand Extended Ministry; Hood United Methodist Church; Southwest Missouri Indian Center, Greene County SNAP Office; Fassnight Creek Farm, Willard Community Food Pantry, Midtown Library; and for teachers at Amazing Kidz Daycare; Carver Middle School; Jarrett Middle School; Reed Middle School; and Study Middle School.

School nutrition efforts included a variety of in-school programs, educational displays, handouts for teachers and handouts that are taken home for the entire family.

“Evaluation data collected across the state reflects the positive impacts that occur in every county with FNEP,” said Duitsman. “Our statewide research shows positive impacts with youth in areas like nutrition awareness, making healthier food choices, willingness to try new foods, and increased physical activity.”

Adults who participate in FNEP show improvements in eating more vegetables and fruits, exercising more, planning meals ahead of time, and making healthy food choices for the family.

The goal of FNEP is to assist Missourians with limited resources in achieving lifelong health and fitness. In southwest Missouri, programs for youth and adults provide nutrition, food safety and tasting opportunities that allow participants to learn about healthy food choices and regular physical activity. Partnering with other agencies -- like schools, after-school programs, summer youth programs, WIC, Head Start, health departments, Food Stamp offices and other social service agencies providing services to limited–income families -- is a key to FNEP’s success.

Since 1914, Greene County residents have sought help from Extension in areas related to agriculture, gardening, 4-H youth, nutrition, families, business and community development. Members of “Friends of Greene County Extension” contribute financially to make it possible for Extension to continue having a positive impact on the quality of life in Greene County. To learn how you can help go online to or call (417) 881-8909. The Greene County Extension Center is located inside the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic, Ave., Springfield, Mo.


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