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EFNEP program assistant for South Carolina State 1890 Upstate Region begins the supermarket tour with shopping the perimeter of a store to access fresh vegetables and fruit. Image courtesy of South Carolina State University.

1890 Extension Efforts Supporting Nutrition, Health and Wellness of Individuals, Families and Communities

Guest Author
Wendi Williams, Alabama A&M University; Troy Darden, Delaware State University; Sonya Moore-Davis, Langston University; Latasha Ford, Fort Valley State University

The 1890 Land-grant Universities shape a brighter future for their communities through their Cooperative Extension programs that are providing families with the information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices. Supported by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Extension programs at 1890 Land-grant Universities are changing lives. Learn more about their impact and their importance to the communities they serve with these highlights from three 1890 Institutions. 

This article was first published as part of the “1890 Extension Transforming Lives Report” and is republished here with permission. 

The Delaware State University Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) educates individuals and families in Kent County, Delaware, on how to make informed decisions about wise food choices, safety and budgeting. Working with the peer support and resource center, Brandywine Counseling & Community Services Inc. (BCCS), participants not only learned basic nutrition but also how to make healthy snack choices and achieve the goal of consuming five fruits and vegetables each day. In addition, clients learned the importance of physical exercise.  

In 2022, EFNEP held five BCCS adult sessions once a week over a six-week period. Each session enrolled 25 to 30 participants. Based on evaluation results, the adults decreased their consumption of refined grains, fats and sugars. They also increased their fruit, vegetable and water intake and exercise habits by more than 90% before exiting the program.  

The United Way of Anderson County in South Carolina revealed that 65% of local adult residents are either overweight or obese and that at least 18% of the county’s residents lack health coverage. This presents a problem as insurance rates continue to increase. Additionally, the National Institute of Aging emphasized that making smart food choices and maintaining a healthy diet links directly to decreased obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension in aging adults.  

To combat obesity and other health issues, South Carolina State University 1890 Research & Extension’s Upstate Region Family Life, Nutrition and Health Program operates the Comparing Food Options Across the Community project. The program provides senior residents of the Anderson Housing Authority with nutrition education to help families adopt healthier food choices and budget-friendly techniques to use when shopping. Results show that 100% of the participants learned the importance of reading food labels, being healthy, reducing salt intake, buying fresh fruits and vegetables, having a balanced diet and selecting healthier fat options.  

The American Heart Association recommends that consumers eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt daily, while adults limit sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams daily. Unfortunately, Americans consume more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium daily with 70% coming from eating packaged, prepared and restaurant food. Reducing salt intake to 1,000 milligrams daily is enough to improve blood pressure and heart health.  

To combat this problem, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) experts at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff taught seniors at St. John Alexander Tower’s apartment complex how to prepare healthy meals using herbs and spices to season food. They also learned how to control food portions and the importance of physical activity. As a result, one resident successfully reported, “By not using salt, I went from taking two blood pressure medications a day to one and lost 30 pounds as well.”  

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
U.S. States and Territories
South Carolina

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