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A Year in Review – Family Nutrition

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Happy New Year!  Each year, I provide a highlight of Extension programming in the areas of diabetes, health, wellness, and community.  Last week, I highlighted the diabetes education efforts in Hopkins County.  The next “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes” series is scheduled for March 24, 26, 31, April 2, and April 7.  More information will be available as those dates draw closer, but if you or someone you know would be interested in attending, write those dates on your calendar.

This week, I want to highlight some of the programming done in the area of nutrition.


The Better Living for Texans program (BLT) is a nutrition education program targeting low-income, food stamp eligible audiences.   According to the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau, 18%% of all individuals residing in Hopkins County are living below the poverty level.  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.  Food preparation skills can be lacking in many households.  Fast food has replaced home-prepared meals in many instances, bringing added sodium, fat, and sugar to the diet.


Numerous outlets for nutrition education were provided in 2014.  Locations/audiences included: four programs at the Early Childhood Learning Center; Regional Childcare Conference; WIC (Women, Infants, Children); Kids’ Camp (see separate report); Teacher-in-Service training; Grandparents Raising Grandchildren; Family Fun & Fitness Night; 4-H Day Camp nutrition session; Lakes Regional MHMR, Greenville; Wesley House Assisted Living facility residents; Family Fun & Fitness Night; Kids’ Safe Saturday; Senior Expo; 55+ Health Fair; and 4th grade students during Ag-in-the-Classroom.

Topics included:

Healthy Snacks and the Pre-school Child (Head Start)
Child’s Play (Head Start)
MyPlate (Kids’ Camp participants)
Food Safety & You (Childcare Conference & Head Start)
Got Your Dairy? (4th grade students from Hopkins, Rains, Delta, & Franklin Counties)
Beware of Look-Alikes (Childcare workers)
Don’t Bug Me!  Fight Bac -Bacteria, that is! (Childcare workers)
Eating Right & Light (WIC)
Grandparents Raising Grandkids – Book Cooks
Make-and-take snacks (Head Start)
Beware of Look-alikes (Kids’ Camp participants)
Fast Foods/Rethink Your Drink (Lakes Regional MHMR)
Easy-fix snacks (Wesley House Assisted Living)
Fast Food Fats & MyPlate (Family Fun & Fitness Night)
MyPlate (Kids’ Safe Saturday)
“Something Good”  (Head Start 3’s and 4’s)
In addition, six issues of Better Living for Texans newsletter were distributed to 29 different outlets, reaching a potential of 5,500 households with each issue.  Health fairs and exhibits were conducted at seven separate locations:

1)       Sulphur Springs Middle School

2)       Fall Festival

3)       Leadership Advisory Board Banquet

4)       First Baptist Church 55+ Health Fair

5)       Kids’ Safe Saturday in Buford Park

6)       Early Childhood Learning Center

7)       Lakes Regional MHMR – Greenville


Approximately 10,000 individuals were reached through educational programs, and an additional 60,000 through newspaper and social media.

Evaluations showed participant improvement in the following areas:

Importance of increasing fruit & vegetable consumption
Skills to combat food-borne illness by using the four “C’s” – clean, cross-contamination prevention, cook to proper temperatures, and chill
Techniques used to stretch their food dollar
Techniques used to involve children in food preparation & purchasing, thereby providing “ownership” by the child
Importance of achieving at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day for adults, and 60 minutes for children/ Ways to incorporate physical activity in the home without spending money, using everyday items and imagination
Importance of adequate intake of dairy products for bone health
Awareness of calories, fat, and sodium in certain fast food choices
Awareness of hidden sugars and making healthy beverage choices (Rethink your Drink)
Using children’s books to incorporate healthy eating habits and simple food preparation
Handouts for Head Start parents are provided in English and Spanish, with an interpreter available as needed.

Future Implications:

Networking will be done with the Heartland Village Apartments to provide workshops and/or programs to those residents.  And of course, organizations and businesses can contact the Extension Office concerning programs, as well.


Develop success from failures.  Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success – Dale Carnegie

Johanna Hicks
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Family & Consumer Sciences
1200-B W. Houston
P.O.Box 518
Sulphur springs, TX 75483
903-885-3443 – phone

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Author: KSST Webmaster

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