EFNEP Works for Montana 2021

Montana State University Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program

The Challenge

  • 75% of Montana youth do not participate in enough aerobic activity to meet guidelines
  • 65% of Montana adults are overweight or obese
  • 92% of Montana adults do not meet the vegetable intake recommendations
  • 77% of American Indian adults are overweight or obese
  • 26% of Montana children in grades 9-12 are overweight or obese
  • 1 in 10 Montanans face hunger/food insecurity

The EFNEP Solution

  •  Help
    • low-income families improve their health through a series interactive lessons offered online & in-person to improve food and physical activity behaviors
  • Collaborate
    • with community partners to support an improved food and physical environment for low-income populations, and work to meet ongoing needs related to COVID-19
  • Contribute
    • to the reduction of health disparities associated with those who have limited financial resources

The Results

Graduates from nutrition classes improved their healthy habits.

  • Adults
    • 46% ate veggies more often
    • 46% ate fruit more often
    • 71% were more physically active
    • 82% improved food safety practices
    • 96% improved food management practices
  • Youth
    • 49% improved physical activity behaviors
    • 57% improved food safety practices
    • 89% made healthier food choices

A single mother, with a nine-year-old daughter, attended a nine-week series of online nutrition and physical activity classes. The mother received a MyPlate magnet from the nutrition educator and put it on her refrigerator at home. Using the skills she learned in class, the mother and her daughter began preparing meals together each night. They would both look at the magnet to make sure they were including all of the food groups. The mother reported that the magnet served as a great reminder to add more fruits and vegetables to their meals!

EFNEP By the Numbers

  • 7,705 visits to buyeatlivebetter.org in 2021
  • 47,540 Pinterest post views 
  • 18,987 Facebook post views
  • 145 adults participated in an Eating Smart Being Active series
  • 633 youth participated in a Youth Understanding MyPlate series
  • 481 nutrition and physical activity classes held
  • 402 adult and youth graduates from nutrition & physical activity series

Program Impacts

EFNEP helps a mother of two learn how to plan meals ahead of time. A mom with two small children, who lives in a rural area and participates in WIC, took a series of EFNEP online cooking and nutrition classes. As a result, she learned how to plan meals ahead of time and prepare them more quickly. She began freesing cooked foods such as pasta and beans, and she also shared that the knife skills she learned in class made preparing food much easier. Additionally, the young mother gained confidence in cooking foods such as meat with her newly acquired food safety skills. She reported that she no longer worries about over- or under-cooking the meat because she knows how to test for the optimal internal temperature. 

EFNEP contributes to statewide projects to promote fruit and vegetables at farmers' markets. Montana State University Extension's Nutrition Education Program is a program partner with several statewide organizations working to offer and promote the use of Double SNAP Dollars at farmers' markets across the state. Through the statewide partnership, local EFNEP programs provide education on use of farmers' markets, and are able to offer coupons for free fruits and vegetables to adult EFNEP participants who want to use their EBT cards at a local market. Through this partnership, EFNEP is helping participants stretch their limited food dollars and increase their access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

EFNEP helps a participant develop healthy and sustainable exercise habits to support their overall well-being. While attending a nine-week series of adult nutrition education classes, a participant was inspired to develop a habit of walking every day to support their mental and physical well-being. The participant stated that this was the first time they had been able to sustainably stick to a workout routine and as a result, they gained a strong sense of mindfulness while out on their daily walks.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Montana State University and Montana State University Extension prohibit discrimination in all of their programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status. Issued in furtherance of cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cody Stone, Director of Extension, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717.