To demonstrate how Cooperative Extension (CE) can successfully implement federally-funded obesity prevention programs across limited-resource populations and settings.
Use of Theory or Research
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education (SNAP-Ed) evaluation framework was utilized spanning multiple levels of the Social-Ecological Model (SEM).
Preschoolers, youth, and adults.
During 2019, 2 federally-funded nutrition education programs namely CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California (CFHL, UC) and Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) were implemented in preschool, schools, and community settings in 2 counties through CE.
Age-appropriate observational tools and surveys were used to assess participants’ goals, intentions and behaviors about healthy eating, physical activity, and food resource management. Policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes including community partnerships were also recorded.
CFHL, UC evaluation results indicated behavioral and organizational changes through direct nutrition education (n = 10,761 children and youth, and 822 adults reached) and indirect nutrition education (n = 31, 421) across 74 locations of various settings from preschools, schools, to community. PSE changes were recorded at 42 sites reaching 21,087 participants with 59 PSE changes across all settings (eg, 41 nutrition changes, 15 PA changes, and 3 nutrition/PA changes combined). EFNEP evaluation results indicated behavioral changes in nutrition, food resource management, and PA practices among adult participants (n = 187) who completed the program.
Conclusions and Implications
CE plays a critical role in obesity prevention efforts by implementing federally-funded nutrition education programs in local communities to empower children, youth, and families with knowledge and skills to make healthy living choices. The CE System with offices in most counties across the state brings together expertise and capacity to promote healthy living among qualified settings and the SNAP-Ed eligible population. Taken together, CE is a good fit for obesity prevention programming to achieve a broader impact that has public value significance.