What is EFNEP?

EFNEP’s mission is to improve the health of limited resource youth and families with young children through practical lessons on basic nutrition and healthy lifestyles, resource management, and food safety. In California, EFNEP has been administered by the University of California Cooperative Extension for over three decades.
Youth EFNEP offers nutrition education to children from low-income families, uses a train-the-trainer method to deliver nutrition lessons to youth in a group setting. Staff trains teachers and volunteer leaders to conduct nutrition activities from age appropriate EFNEP curriculum. The program is available at no cost to youth agencies that serve low-income children and to schools with more than 50% students receiving free/reduced price meals.


Youth Program Evaluation
Townsend MS, Johns M, Shilts MK, Farfan-Ramirez L. Evaluation of a USDA nutrition education program for low-income Youth. J Nutrition Educ Behavior. 2006; 38(1):30-41.
We are very proud of this effort. It is the 1st statewide evaluation of youth EFNEP in the peer-reviewed literature. We also validated USDA’s impact indicator method.
Shilts M, Smith D, Ontai-Grzebik L, Townsend MS. Evidence to support the use of the retrospective pretest method to measure dietary behavior and self-efficacy in adolescents. J Youth Development. In press.
The results of this study give Youth EFNEP the academic basis for developing evaluation tools for adolescents using the retrospective pre method. Why important? County staff are hesitant to begin the education experience with a pretest. This method saves the pre and post tests for the end of the end experience.
California Content Standards
Shilts M, Lamp C, Horowitz M, Townsend MS. EatFit impacts academic performance in mathematics and English: a pilot study. J Nutrition Educ Behavior. In press.
This study is important as it is the first to document nutrition education’s impact on academic performance. These results should help EFNEP staff with recruitment of schools.
Horowitz M, Shilts M, Lamp C, Townsend MS. A standards-driven evaluation of academic performance: an 8-step process for nutrition educators. J Nutrition Educ Behavior. In press.
This paper should help other EFNEP Coordinators/Directors with developing their own standards-driven evaluation tool.
Contact Information

Larissa Leavens
Program Representative/Analyst | llleavens@UCDavis.edu

Christine Davidson
Program Representative/Analyst | cdavidson@UCDavis.edu

Marilyn Townsend
Nutrition Education Specialist | mstownsend@UCDavis.edu