Thursday, April 10, 2014

MU Extension Family Nutrition Education Program Reaches Over 34,800 in Greene County During 2013

Contact: Terri Fossett, coordinator
Family Nutrition Education Program for SW Missouri
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 886-2059

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The University of Missouri Extension Family Nutrition Education Program (FNEP) provides long lasting benefits to residents of Greene County. During fiscal year 2013, the FNEP program in Greene County had a direct influence on 8,502 participants plus another 26,328 indirect participants for a total of 34,830.

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 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 Terri Fossett, coordinator of the Family Nutrition Education Program for southwest Missouri.


University of Missouri Extension is dedicated to providing research-based nutrition education to Missouri’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) recipients and food stamp eligible citizens.

The Family Nutrition Program (FNP) is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service through SNAP (food stamp program). In the Farm Bill, SNAP-Ed (FNP) was funded for $401 million nationally.  In Missouri, FNEP will be funded at $10.495 million.

“Participants in FNEP become more aware of nutrition, make healthier meal and snack choices, eat breakfast more often, are more willing to try new foods and increase their physical activity,” said Fossett. “This important programming effort serves to reduce healthcare costs over the participant’s lifetime, saving taxpayers money in reduced public healthcare benefits and insurance premiums.”

Fossett says whether reaching out to youth through classroom education or adults in community settings, the goal of the program is to help participants make behavior changes to achieve lifelong health and fitness.


Programs offered in the county during 2013 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 Fossett.

MU Extension nutrition programs are held at Greene County locations like the 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 is also offered by MU Extension at many elementary schools in the county. Show-Me Nutrition educational displays that incorporate different nutrition messages are also maintained at Greene County locations.

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 Fossett. “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.


In the southwest Missouri region, direct FNEP programming reached 52,109 plus indirect programming of 168,629 for a total of 220,738 participants.

“We provide services to 17 counties with 27 nutrition educators and three support staff with the goal to give quality service to our clients,” said Fossett.

The regional Family Nutrition Education Program is located at 2160 W Chesterfield Blvd. Suite 200 in Springfield Mo and is sometimes referred to as the Greene County Extension Annex.

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.  To learn more visit MU Extension online at .


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