A Year in Review – Family Nutrition
This is the 4th column pertaining to major educational programming provided by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Hopkins County. Because of the variety of programming, my day is never boring, as it is different every day! Today, I’ll focus on family nutrition.
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. Some behavioral problems are associated with poor diet and lack of consuming breakfast among students.
Numerous outlets for nutrition education were provided in 2015. Locations/audiences included: Early Childhood Learning Center – students and parents; Regional Childcare Conference – childcare workers; Kids’ Camp – Fun, Food, Fitness; Teacher-in-Service training; Family Health & Fun Fair – Head Start families; 4-H Day Camp nutrition session; Lakes Regional MHMR clientele – Rockwall; Kids’ Safe Saturday; Delta County Senior Citizens Center: Senior Expo; 55+ Health Fair; Pilot Club members; and 4th grade students participating in Ag-in-the-Classroom.
- New Year, New You
- Super Summer Salads
- Food Safety & You
- Got Your Dairy?
- Beware of Look-Alikes
- Don’t Bug Me! Fight Bac -Bacteria, that is!
- Book Cooks
- Make-and-take snacks
- Fast Foods/Rethink Your Drink
- Fast Food Fats & MyPlate
- Childhood Nutrition
In addition, nine 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. Master Wellness Volunteers and Family & Consumer Sciences Committee members assisted in manning the following exhibits: Leadership Advisory Board Banquet; First Baptist Church 55+ Health Fair; Kids’ Safe Saturday in Buford Park (nutrition spin wheel); Early Childhood Learning Center; Lakes Regional MHMR – Rockwall; Senior Citizen’s Expo; and Ocean Spray.
Mass media and social media blogs (Hopkins County Family & Consumer Sciences Facebook page, KSST, and Front Porch News Texas page) provided additional outlets for nutrition, food safety, grocery-shopping tips, and making healthy food choices by publishing my weekly columns.
Evaluations from face-to-face programming 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.
A new program called “A Fresh Start to a Healthier You” will be implemented in 2016. I’m looking forward to sharing this great information!
Closing Thought for the New Year
“What I focus on in life is what I get. And if I concentrate on how bad I am or how wrong I am or how inadequate I am; if I concentrate on what I can’t co and how there’s not enough time in which to do it, isn’t that what I get every time? And when I think about how powerful I am, and when I think about the difference I can make on this planet, then that’s what I get. You see, I recognize that it’s not what happens to you; its what you do about it.” – W. Mitchell
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Family & Consumer Sciences
1200-B W. Houston
Sulphur springs, TX 75483
903-885-3443 – phone
903-439-4909 – Fax