Expanded Food and Nutrition Education (EFNEP)
EFNEP is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and operates through Extension programs at land grant institutions in every state and in the six U.S. territories. In Ohio, EFNEP is administered by Ohio State University Extension. This program is intended for limited resource adults who care for children in their homes as well as limited-income youth. The program utilizes interactive discussions and activities to guide participants through a series of meetings aimed at improving the total family diet and nutritional well-being.
EFNEP is a free program offered in 20 counties in Ohio (see map below) and has two components - a youth program and an adult program. The adult program serves low income adults with children in the household. EFNEP teaches caregivers how to make healthier, safer, and lower-cost food choices for themselves and their families while boosting their ability to choose and buy food that is healthier for their families. They also gain new skills in food preparation, storage, and safety, learn how to better manage their food budgets, and how to increase their physical activity levels. Ohio EFNEP also provides specialized education to pregnant and new mothers as well as nutrition workshops which take into account healthy parenting styles and techniques.
The youth program is offered to children in Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, Stark and Summit Counties. Children learn about nutrition, food preparation, food safety, and physical activity during a six week, interactive program taking place in classrooms, after school programs or camps, and summer food feeding sites.
How Are Programs Delivered?
The adult program is a series of 6 to 8 group meetings headed by an EFNEP Program Assistant over the course of 1 or 2 months in the county where the participants live. The meetings take place at various locations throughout the counties, often in partnership with local and state agencies.
The youth program is administered through schools, youth organizations, after school programs, and many other places and events where children gather. Youth receive a series of 6 lessons over 4 to 6 weeks. EFNEP partners with the Ohio Summer Food Service Program to provide nutrition education to youth who receive free meals throughout the summer at identified sites.
How are Programs Evaluated?
Adult participants are asked to complete an enrollment form, short survey, and a 24 hour food recall at the first and last lesson. Youth are asked to complete a short, grade specific survey at the first and last lesson of the series. Data is entered into The Web-Based Nutrition Education Evaluation and Reporting System (WebNEERS), a secure internet database. For additional information on WebNEERS and federal reporting click here.
Our Commitment to Evidence-Based Practice
Ohio EFNEP strives to provide the most up to date, evidenced-based knowledge in their practice and teaching. The adult curriculum, Eating Smart • Being Active is an evidence based, nutrition education and obesity prevention curriculum based on the socio-ecological model.
Ohio EFNEP youth curriculum includes Healthy Kids Challenge curriculum Balance My Day which uses the most current evidence-based recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other leading organizations. Additional lessons were created by Ohio EFNEP based on MyPlate, The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and CDC recommendations.
Federal policies governing the use of EFNEP funds as well as other national documentation and information can be found at the following website: http://nifa.usda.gov/program/expanded-food-and-nutrition-education-program-efnep
A direct link to EFNEP national policy can be found at: http://nifa.usda.gov/sites/default/files/program/EFNEP%20Policy%20Document%202015%20Update%20P1.pdf
Ohio EFNEP partners with a variety of organizations and agencies within the community including:
- County Governments
- County School Boards
- Columbus Public Health Department
- Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
- Head Start
- Local Faith-based Organizations
- After-school and Day Care Centers
- Housing Authorities
- Migrant Centers
- Homeless Shelters
- Food Banks and Pantries • Rehabilitation Facilities
- Recreation and Community Centers
- Local Libraries
EFNEP is part of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at The Ohio State University Extension. State coordinators and directors provide leadership and direction to the program, manage financial resources, and technical assistance and training to county based staff. County based staff include county and regional Program Specialist who offer direct supervision and guidance to county based Program Assistants, or direct community educators.