Randolph County Cooperative Extension Steps to Health

— Written By Barbara Linder and last updated by Carmen Boswell

As we are in the midst of the holiday season, when thoughts of eating healthy tend to be thrown out of the window, Randolph County Cooperative Extension is gearing up to begin its annual SNAP-Ed program for FY15 in January. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as “Food Stamps”, serves limited resource individuals and families nation-wide. The educational arm of this program – SNAP-Ed – is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and Nutrition Service, and in North Carolina with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Social Services. The Randolph County Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agent teaches the North Carolina State University’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program educational component (SNAP-Ed) “Steps to Health” to youth and adults throughout Randolph County.

Randolph County Cooperative Extension continues to makes enormous impacts on the residents of Randolph County in regard to healthy eating and positive behavior change. 217 3rd graders at Liberty and Randleman Elementary Schools participated in the Steps to Health program. Twenty-five students participated in the Kindergarten Nutrition program entitled “Color Me Healthy.”

Outcomes of the 3rd grade program show that:

83.1% of the students improved their overall nutrition knowledge.

66.9% of students reported they are making positive nutritional behavior changes.

100% of teachers reported observing changes in their students behavior. 85.2% of parents report they are have observed their children eating more fruits and vegetables, and 75% of parents themselves report they are eating more fruits and vegetables.

Outcomes of “Color Me Healthy” for Kindergarten show that:

100% of parents report an improvement in their child’s willingness to taste

fruits and vegetables.

100% of parents report an increase in their child’s physical activity.

One parent of a 3rd grade participant commented, “Thank you for the excellent way you encouraged my child to eat healthier. She is beginning to try more fruits and veggies, a little at a time. A parent of a Kindergarten student commented, “My child now eats vegetables. Before the Steps to Health program, he would never dare to try them.”

In addition to the school age program, Randolph County Cooperative Extension provides Steps to Health programming to adults. In 2014 16 participants participated in “Eat Smart, Move More, Take Control,” a chronic disease prevention and management course. One ESMMTC participant commented, “This program was very informative and very rewarding. I am enjoying a new menu for dinner and I feel better. I have more energy since modifying my diet with an extra vegetable. Thank you!”

Programs for families entitled “Better Foods, Better Health,” taught in both English and Spanish were also provided in 2014, as was “Better Choices,” a program for adult congregate nutrition sites. In 2014 the Steps to Health programs brought over $43,000.00 in program value to Randolph County.