USDA Provides Grant Funding for Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Utah State University both received U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants to support research on nutrition education and obesity prevention for disadvantaged children and families.
The funding will help create two additional Regional Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Centers of Excellence (RNECE), established through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). It was provided to the schools through the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
"Childhood obesity rates in America have tripled over the past three decades," NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy said in a written statement. "While we are beginning to see promising signs of progress with the epidemic leveling off in children, these grants will help evaluate and strengthen existing nutrition education and obesity prevention efforts to help ensure this progress continues."
University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UT) will receive $1 million to strengthen SNAP and EFNEP nutrition education programs for low-income families. The center will focus on reducing obesity by analyzing programs to identify facilitators, barriers, best practices, training and evaluation needs. UT will develop and disseminate resources tailored to the needs of those delivering SNAP-Ed and EFNEP interventions and adapt and disseminate readiness-to-change resources to strengthen organizational, community and neighborhood coalitions and provide resources to increase intercultural competence in SNAP-Ed and EFNEP implementation.
Utah State University in Logan, Utah will receive $1 million to compare EFNEP and SNAP-Ed program participants and non-participants with a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds across five states. This research will improve USDA's ability to evaluate, create and maintain effective nutrition education programs that result in healthier food choices and increased physical activity for participants. These lifestyle changes will lead to improved health and reduced incidence of disease and disability, reducing costs to individuals and the nation's healthcare system.