A Year in Review - Family Nutrition
This is the second in a series of program summaries provided through Family & Consumer Sciences of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Each year, we provide a booklet called "Making a Difference", and the 2012 version will soon be ready. Copies can be found at our Extension Office, 1200-B W. Houston Street in Sulphur Springs.
Relevance: The Better Living for Texans program is a nutrition education program targeting adults and children. According to the Centers for Disease Control (2009 – most recent statistics available), 32.7% of Hopkins County adults ages 20 and above are considered to be obese. In addition, 15.8% of all individuals residing in Hopkins County are living below the poverty level according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau. Research suggests that limited resource individuals consume diets that are not in agreement with current dietary recommendations, potentially increasing their risk for developing chronic disease, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Additionally, limited resource audiences are at a higher risk for food insecurity and hunger, which also impacts health.
Response: Numerous outlets for nutrition education were provided in 2012. Educational programs at the Early Childhood Learning Center for parents (4 programs), nutrition program for students at Miller Grove Elementary School, Mt. Zion Women’s group, Head Start students, Retired Teachers’ Association, Regional Childcare Conference, Kids’ Camp: Fun, Food Fitness (see separate report next week), Bowie Elementary 2nd grade students, and the general public.
• Dining at the Dollar Store
• Back to the Basics series (Reduce Stress Through Meal Planning, Spending Less & Getting More at the Grocery Store, Keeping Your Food Safe)
• Healthy Holiday Snacks
• Book Cooks
• Child’s Play
In addition, the Better Living for Texans newsletter was prepared and distributed 6 times in 2012. Copies of each issue were also made available at the Extension Office. Approximately 5,500 households receive each issue.
Brown Bag Lunch Bunch took place at the ROC (Recreational Outreach Center – First Baptist Church) weekly during the spring months. Participants were asked to bring a sack lunch and a nutrition tip and inspirational were provided, followed by walking on the indoor track. Ninety participated during the three month period.
The annual Thanksgiving Food Box Project was implemented by the Family & Consumer Sciences Committee. Thirty-nine low-income households received a food box. Numerous individuals were involved in this project. After food was acquired from the North Texas Food Bank and a local grocery store, the Stars of Texas 4-H Club packed the boxes, and volunteers delivered the boxes to the individual households. A MyPlate mini poster and magnet and a letter from the Extension Office were included in each box.
Health Fair exhibits, which included MyPlate information and Better Living for Texans brochures, were provided at three locations during 2012, reaching approximately 450 individuals. An Extension calendar of events was also distributed to allow attendees a glimpse of the variety of programs offered throughout the year.
Book Cooks: Children love books and they like to use their hands. This project combines reading (literacy), math (measuring ingredients), science (change in texture when heated, mixing), safety (oven, stovetop, and knife use), health (hand & surface hygiene), and nutrition (nutrients provided by various foods). This project was used with childcare workers, students, 4-H members, and provided to teachers, reaching over 300 individuals.
Newspaper columns and blogs provided additional information to readers on nutrition, food safety, grocery shopping tips, and making healthy food choices.
Results: Approximately 33,925 families/individuals were reached with nutrition education information. Participants learned the following information:
The Family & Consumer Sciences committee, Master Wellness Volunteers, and Community Health/Wellness Coalition were instrumental in helping implement and evaluate these programs. Thanks, also, to the many volunteers who devoted their time in helping set up these programs.
Last Call for Master Wellness Volunteer Training
If you are interested in becoming a certified Master Wellness Volunteer, please take note that the next training is scheduled to begin in January. I need a commitment from at least five individuals in order for the class to make. Individuals will receive 40 hours of training in the areas of health and wellness, and in return agree to provide 40 hours of service during the year. Certified Master Wellness Volunteers are provided with many opportunities throughout the year. Cost of the training is $50 which covers cost of materials, two meals, screening, and incentives. Please contact my office at 903-885-3443 if interested. Classes begin January 10.
“You cannot help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.” General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Johanna Hicks, B.S., M.Ed.
Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Agent
1200-B W. Houston
P.O. Box 518
Sulphur Springs, TX 75483
903-885-3443 - phone
903-439-4909 - fax