Calls to Conversation - Nutrition Education Programming in America

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

NIFA is committed to improving health and reducing hunger and poverty in America through nutrition education programming. Low-income families develop healthy habits in eating, physical activity, food handling, and food storage through peer educator-led training using credible, research-based nutrition information. NIFA and its predecessor agencies have provided nearly 50 years of federal leadership in nutrition education programming through the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). We need to ensure that such programming is commensurate with demographic, social, and technological change. To that end, the EFNEP partnership has conducted two “Calls to Conversation” to discuss potential ways efficiently and effectively expand the program's reach while also maintaining a high rate of return on the scaled up program.

On June 14th and 15th, the University of Missouri, Lincoln University, and NIFA hosted the first of the two conversations. The main question that the first Nutrition Education Programming in America Call to Conversation addressed was: Given that EFNEP reaches about 500,000 adults and youth annually, how might we most efficiently and effectively scale up the program to expand the program's reach while also maintaining its high rate of return, i.e., program impact? Roughly 47 million people are below the poverty level in the U.S., which includes 18 percent of families with children and 19 percent of children — ages 0 to 17. The conversation was framed by a "Point of Departure" document that outlined the meeting's objective, program background, and questions to be addressed. After the conversation, additional input was received via email and a report was prepared that summarized these findings. An executive summary of this report is also available.

The University of the District of Columbia hosted a follow up conversation on October 31st and November 1st. The second conversation also focused on how to address changing demographics, coordinate with other programs, and ensure program equity into the future.

NIFA published a concise document based on this and other input regarding ways to most efficiently and effectively scale up the program to expand the EFNEP program's reach, while also

  • Maintaining the program’s high rate of return on investment;
  • Enhancing coordination with other nutrition education programs;
  • Responding to current and future demographic, social, and technological change; and
  • Ensuring program equity into the future.
This document is designed to frame and focus future input on the program as a point of reference as the EFNEP community:
  • Ensures that EFNEP remains commensurate with demographic, social, and technological change;
  • Determines what is essential for continued and even greater programmatic success; and
  • Upholds high levels of program equity, efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability.
If you have input on ways to most efficiently and effectively scale up the program to expand the EFNEP program's reach while also maintaining its high rate of return, please feel free to email us your thoughts.