Travis County EFNEP
1514 Ed Bluestein, Suite 203
Austin, TX 78721
Maria Rosario Mejias
- Lead Office Assistant:
- Youth Associates:
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
Travis County Outcome Summary Report
Supporting Texas Families with Greatest Need Since 1969
The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) helps young families and youth with limited resources—those most at risk to suffer from hunger, food insecurity and the inability to connect with available support systems. EFNEP offers practical lessons in basic nutrition, food preparation, food budget management and food safety in settings convenient for the participants. EFNEP also includes a walking program for adult participants. Program graduates reflect significant, lasting improvement in eating behaviors and healthy food habits. Texas has a need for EFNEP—2014 data show that 20% of Texas families with children under the age of 18 were living below poverty level, compared to 18% of U.S. families.
EFNEP Reaches Diverse Audiences in Travis County
In Travis County, ethnically diverse EFNEP nutrition assistants reach youth and adult groups whose principal language may be English or Spanish.
- 543 families enrolled in EFNEP.
- 5,105 youth contacts were made through the EFNEP youth program.
- 63% of families were at or below 100% of federal poverty level.
- 77% of families enrolled in one or more food assistance programs at entry.
- 70 EFNEP participants were pregnant and/or nursing.
- 87% of EFNEP adult participants were Hispanic/Latino.
- 4% of EFNEP adult participants were Black.
- 6% of EFNEP adult participants were White, Not Hispanic/Latino.
Volunteers Strengthen EFNEP
In 2015, 381 adult volunteers donated 2,725 hours of work to EFNEP in Travis County. At the Texas rate of $24.66/hour, this volunteerism has a minimum dollar value of $67,194. Volunteers make a difference in their own communities, and contribute to EFNEP’s continued success.
EFNEP Makes a Real Difference
Using “hands-on” experiences, EFNEP adult participants complete at least a six-lesson series on stretching food dollars, improving eating habits, and practicing food safety principles. As a result of participation in EFNEP the following food and nutrition behaviors were achieved:
- 94% with positive change in any food group at exit.
- 86% improved in one or more food resource management practices such as using a list for grocery shopping.
- 96% improved in one or more nutrition practices such as using the “Nutrition Facts” on food labels to make food choices.
- 56% improved in one or more food safety practices such as thawing foods safely.
- 58% of program participants reported a positive change in physical activity.
The EFNEP – Youth program is directed toward low-income school-age youth. These students participate in a series of fun and educational lessons on good nutrition and food safety as part of summer programs, classroom and after-school activities. The following results show how youth participants’ food behaviors improved after attending EFNEP classes.
- 81% improved ability to choose foods according to the Dietary Guidelines.
- 53% improved their safe food handling practices more often.
- 29% improved physical activity practices.
- 50% improved ability to prepare simple, nutritious, affordable food.
Studies have shown that for every $1 spent of EFNEP, $10 were estimated to be saved in health care costs and $2 saved in food costs by participants. For Travis County, this is $2.9 million in estimated health care cost savings and almost $596,652 in food costs.
Mary is a homemaker that has attended the Travis EFNEP adult class series twice in the past two years. She had this to say about the EFNEP program: “For the past 2 years I have been attending the program of Building Healthy Families (EFNEP). When I joined the program I weighed 348. I was eating all the wrong foods. This program has helped me to eat right and has showed me how to cook healthy meals for my family. Since I changed my eating habits I have lost 40 pounds. This program is working for me and my family.”
Lissy is a homemaker enrolled in EFNEP nutrition classes at one of the WIC clinics. Lissy said this about what she had learned: “I learned a lot about how to stop drinking so many sodas and eat healthy. I now try to drink more water and juices. I have a problem with my child, she doesn’t like vegetables, only corn. The EFNEP lady gave me advice on what to do to try to get her vegetables. Thank you.”
A previous EFNEP participant in one of the WIC clinics shared with the class how the program has helped her. She told the class that she had learned so many helpful things about portion sizes, eating foods from all of the food groups, and especially how to defrost meat safely. She encouraged the others to pay attention and learn.
Last updated: 18 October, 2016
Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.