University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Food & Nutrition Programs

EFNEP Impact and Success Stories

EFNEP makes a difference

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) teaches limited-resource families how to eat healthfully on a tight budget:

  • Studies show that for every $1 that is spent on EFNEP, up to $10 is saved in future health care costs.
  • Another study showed that for every $1 spent on EFNEP, $2.48 is saved in food expenses.
  • EFNEP was found to be the most effective federal nutrition program for increasing fruit and vegetable intake.
EFNEP youth group program

With childhood obesity rates on the rise, it is important to get children understanding healthy choices they can make to improve their health.  After completing a Book-in-Bag curriculum series in their local school, students increased their understanding of the five food groups and how eating a variety of foods helps our bodies to grow strong and healthy.  The students also developed a better understanding of how to prevent illness not only through diet, but also by stressing the importance of hand washing.  Evaluations showed participants were more willing to try new foods and were able to indicate where foods belong on USDA’s MyPlate.  Of the students surveyed:

73% reported intention to increase consumption of vegetables; 72% reported increased preference for the taste of vegetables.

89% reported intention to increase consumption of fruit; 85% reported increased preference for the taste of fruit.

EFNEP adult group program

EFNEP teaches families on a tight budget how to get more value from their food dollars. This value can be measured in both the quantity and quality of foods eaten.  Quantity and quality can be enhanced by planning and home preparation. Research indicates that meals eaten out of the home are often less nutritious and more costly.
EFNEP collaborated with local Head Start programs to bring a series of workshops to enrolled families. The two hour sessions were designed to teach families how to prepare tasty, quick and healthy low-cost meals at home.  As I worked with the parents on the different topics at each workshop, they exchanged their ideas and knowledge with each other.  Each week I heard things like:

“This is easy and my kids and husband will eat it.”
“I never knew that chopped vegetables would be so good in a sandwich.”
"This would be fun to do with my kids."

- EFNEP Nutrition Educator, Caledonia County

EFNEP adult home visits

Having come to the United States from Somalia, a young family I worked with faced numerous obstacles and challenges.   Their new home was so different from their homeland and navigating our food environment was just one of their struggles.
Obtaining food is very different here in the U.S. than in Somalia.  The mother was overwhelmed with all of the food available in the grocery stores.  We went several times to explore the many aspects of shopping for food such as comparing prices, using scales in the produce department, comparing cost per pound and purchasing food in different forms (fresh, canned and frozen).  We also discussed planning and cooking meals that are healthy versus purchasing the types of food that she saw many people eating, including fast food.

One of our outings was going to a farmer’s market to learn about what is grown locally here in Vermont, and how to purchase local foods.  She stated that she was interested in doing some gardening, so she bought some tomato plants and other vegetables, which we planted in containers.  Over the summer, she and her family were able to enjoy what she had planted.<

After the time we spent working together, she is now able to plan meals, use a grocery list, read nutrition facts labels and prepare meals that are new to her and her family.  She told me during a visit, “I learn so much from you.  You teach me so many things.”

 - EFNEP Nutrition Educator, Chittenden County

Last modified March 14 2013 11:48 AM