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MU programs teach Missouri families to make healthy food choices
Date:8/9/2011

221.10.254.64

COLUMBIA, Mo. Eating healthy and being active are important, but choosing a healthy snack, planning a nutritious meal or checking the nutrition label on an item are not always easy for people with limited knowledge and resources. Two University of Missouri Extension programs are teaching families throughout the state how to make healthy choices to improve the quality of their lives.

"Experts know that the obesity rate in Missouri is too high," said Candance Gabel, State Coordinator for Family Nutrition Education Programs. "Two ways to lower the rate are to teach people to choose nourishing foods and to increase their physical activity. Our curriculum focuses on eating better to get the nutrients necessary for good health."

Family Nutrition Program (FNP) offers basic food nutrition education to low-income adults and youth throughout the state. The program's primary audience is school-age children, but it also targets high school students and adults through curriculum in the classroom, cooking classes and social marketing campaigns. FNP's curriculum includes Show-Me Nutrition, a sequential program from pre-K through 8th grade, Food From the Farm, a program that connects kindergartners with local farms to teach them where fresh produce comes from and Kids in the Kitchen, a program that teaches youths how to grow and cook vegetables.

"It is important to teach parents and children how to make healthy choices," Gabel said. "We target economically disadvantaged populations because they may not have the same resources as other people, including financial resources and access to affordable, fresh foods in their communities."

Participants in FNP's adult education program report thinking more about wholesome choices to feed their families, using nutrition labels to decide what to eat, increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables consumed each day and exercising more.

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Contact: Samantha Craven
slctw4@mail.mizzou.edu
573-882-9144
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert  

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