MSU Extension research showcases effectiveness of nutrition education
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service reported that significant changes in healthy behavior were observed among low-income adults participating in MSU Extension nutrition education programs.
On Dec. 5, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FNS) released the results of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Education and Evaluation Study (Wave II). The results demonstrated that the nutrition education program, Eat Smart, Live Strong (ESLS) offered by Michigan State University Extension can lead to healthier food choices by low-income adults’ ages 60 to 80.
MSU Extension received research grant dollars from the USDA FNS to conduct the research at senior sites or other gathering centers throughout the state. Over the course of several months in 2012, MSU Extension educators and program assistants provided direct nutrition education to low-income adults receiving SNAP benefits, supplying take-home and class materials.
The results of the study highlighted that those engaged in the program significantly increased their fruit and vegetable consumption. ESLS participants were found to increase their normal daily consumption of fruits and vegetables (combined) by more than a half-cup.
After attending the class series, 73 percent of the class participants reported that they wanted to eat healthier, with 63 percent wanting to improve their overall health. ESLS participants were also more likely to adopt healthier behavior and engage in discussions around overcoming barriers and challenges of purchasing, preparing and consuming fruits and vegetables with their peers.
The study results showed that ESLS participants were more likely to speak with their health care provider about the fruits and vegetables they should avoid due to medical reasons, and with their friends and family about increasing their fruit and vegetable servings each day.