EFNEP Knowledge is Power–Nutrition Education for Healthier Families

Improve the Nation's Nutrition and Health
Research Year: 

Hunger and poor health contributes to debilitating factors such as increased chronic disease, homelessness, family stress and deterioration, and child health related diseases due to inadequate nutrition. The Native American reservations are combating diabetes at an alarming rate and the African American and Hispanic communities are struggling with diabetes and high blood pressure. Americans as a whole are faced with the same nutrition related problems. Proper nutrition plays a major role in combating food related diseases.

Description of Action: 

EFNEP, the Extension Food and Nutrition Education Program strengthens low-income families through education. Families learn about making sound nutritional choices based on dietary guidelines, by improving their overall nutrition and health, and learning skills to manage their money through optimum grocery purchasing and applying safe food practices.

Education regarding the positive effects of healthy food choices gives families the power to decrease the negative effects of poor food choices. Thus EFNEP classes stress positive choices, such as increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables and decreasing the negative effects of poor food choices high in fat, sugar and salt.

EFNEP nutrition educators in Maricopa County (including the Phoenix metropolitan area) taught 2,132 six lesson each for a total of 13,622 contacts in 2005. The number of households enrolled in one or more food assistance programs as a result of EFNEP assistance was over 1,400 households. Simple money-management techniques taught in EFNEP classes empowered families to use food dollars more wisely and make healthier food decisions.


In 2005, ninety-five percent of the 2,132 participants exited the EFNEP program with a positive overall change in any food group such as consuming more fruits and vegetables and decreasing sugar and fat intake. Eighty-one percent of EFNEP participants showed improvement in planning meals, in not running out of food before the end of the month, in comparing prices and in using grocery lists when shopping. Seventy-nine percent of EFNEP participants ate two or more servings of fruit and 64 percent were eating three or more servings of vegetables upon exiting the program. Seventy-eight percent of EFNEP participants showed improvement in one or more nutrition practices such as preparing food without adding salt.

Funding Agencies: 

Smith-Lever 3 (d): EFNEP; In-kind from agencies

Conact Name: 
Ruth Jackson
Contact E-mail: 
Contact Address: 

Maricopa County Cooperative Extension

4341 E. Broadway Road

Phoenix, AZ 85040-8807

Tel.: (602) 470-8086, FAX: (602) 470-8092