Tag Archives: Nutrition

Nutrition and financial education partnership: Money Smart Week

To promote personal financial management for everyday consumers, the Federal Reserve Bank created Money Smart Week. During this week, organizations collaborate together to offer free educational programming for people no matter their incomes or demographics. This year, between April 20 and April 28, the MSU Extension Kalamazoo County team of Leatta Byrd, Krystal Avila, Stonia Hunter and Cathy Drew partnered with various organizations such as the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program (KPEP), Ministry with Community, Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency, the Salvation Army and Borgess Medical Center.

Last month, financial educators partnered with the nutrition instructors in Kalamazoo to provide education on how to make a healthy lifestyle affordable for everyone. Along with the pros of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, participants were taught the tools of budgeting and price tracking. They were given recommendations to lower food costs. Some events were offered in both English and Spanish.

Stonia Hunter taught nine participants nutrition and food budgeting at the KPEP on April 28. Krystal Avila reached eight participants with Eat Healthy, Be Active at Ministry with Community on April 20. Later that evening, Krystal presented Healthy Foods, Healthy Families in English and Spanish to nine participants at the Salvation Army. Leatta Byrd taught four participants through Eat Smart‒Spend Less April 26 at the Borgess Medical Center.

MSU Extension nutrition education programs aim to improve the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behavior of how individuals view nutrition. Through promotion, planning and delivery, staff members work with diverse audiences at a local, county and state level to help implement everyday changes to individuals and family diets for an increased nutritional well-being.

Making improvements in your financial situation can be time consuming and difficult. If you have questions or you would like to ask an expert, Michigan State University Extension has access to many resources. Visit the MiMoneyHealth page for more information and answers to your questions.

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Filed under Financial education, Uncategorized

Getting the word out to Flint families

On Tuesday, April 26, MSU Extension participated in the Flint Farmers Market event held by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and attended by representatives from state and local agencies, the media and the public. The event raised awareness about the nutrition assistance programs and guidance resources available to Flint residents.

During the press conference, speakers from many organizations and programs such as the Fair Food Network, the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Farmers Market Nutrition Program, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan joined USDA speakers to share about nutrition and program information. Erin Powell, MSU Extension health and nutrition educator, spoke at the press conference, highlighting MSU Extension resources and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ‒ Education (SNAP‒Ed).

After the press conference, participants interacted with program staff during activities and demonstrations, and at informational booths. Our MSU Extension team provided a cooking demonstration, a Cooking Matters class and a Discover Michigan Fresh tour. They also set up a “fender blender” bike for participants to ride to create a healthy smoothie and taste the results of their efforts. The MSU Extension booth showcased our nutrition education curricula, fight lead brochures and class fliers.

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The event provided accurate information, brought partners together who support the efforts in Flint and delivered a cohesive message. The USDA took sounds bites and video footage to develop public service announcements for future use to reach out and educate more of the public about the important resources available.

Thank you, Dawn Contreras, Deanna East, Erin Powell, Lynette Kaiser, Rich Ashley and his son Gabe, Liz Josaitis, Maha Khrais, Shane Jackson, Nancy Latham, Becky Henne and Tom Cummins for your efforts to provide meaningful activities and content, and for representing MSU Extension at this successful event.

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Filed under Children and Youth, communication, Events, Flint Water, Food, Health and Nutrition, Nutrition, Partnerships, Publications, Resources

Getting nutritious milk to Flint: They make it look easy

On January 18, I was in a meeting with Ken Nobis, president of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA). Because it was our first time in the same room, we began with some informal conversation about the big news item of the day ‒ the Flint water crisis. When I mentioned that our staff members were working with residents to ensure they have access to foods high in calcium and iron, both of which block the absorption of lead, Ken was quick to point out that milk is high in calcium and 96 hours later, 12,000 gallons of nutritious milk was delivered to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. About 2,000 dairy farm families from the MMPA donated the milk, Kroger Co. of Michigan led the processing of the milk and packaging into gallon jugs, and Quickway provided the transportation of the milk to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for distribution. Shortly after that, it was distributed to Flint residents.

That’s the power of Michigan State University Extension. We bring the right people together to help solve complex problems. In this case, I did very little. But it got the wheels turning. In fact, on National Ag Day, March 15, a second delivery of 12,000 gallons of 2 percent milk was delivered to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for distribution among families affected by the Flint water crisis. This time, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan joined the MMPA, and Kroger and banded together to help a city in need.

Good nutrition is important to everyone but it is especially important for families affected by lead contamination. Our health and nutrition team has been vigilant in demonstrating the need for good nutrition during this public health crisis. Making sure that nutritious foods, such as milk, are available to the residents of Flint is key to recovery. We are proud that our partners in agriculture, including the MMPA, are helping in that recovery.

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Filed under Flint Water, Food, Health and Nutrition, Partnerships

Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference featured Sen. Stabenow

The Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference was a great success in its first year, held in Grand Rapids April 10-11. Hosted by Michigan State University Extension, MSU AgBioResearch and Michigan Brewers Guild, the event was the first of its kind, and it immediately filled up – pulling in 333 attendees. The craft beer industry boom has made this an exciting time for hop and barley producers, providing more opportunities for growth and added need for collaboration.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, attended. She delivered opening remarks on April 10, and even featured the conference in her newsletter the week following. Her presence at the conference, as well as extensive media coverage, helped spread the word about the great work being done among the producers.

Betsy Braid, educational program coordinator with Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Event Services, said “Attendees were all very excited, especially as the industry continues to grow. It was so successful that they are starting to talk about holding a 2016 conference.”

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Filed under Accomplishments

MSU Extension educators to collaborate with the Michigan Department of Education for smarter school lunches

Michigan State University Extension will be collaborating with the Michigan Department of Education on the recently awarded 2014 USDA Team Nutrition grant. MSU Extension educators across the state will be working directly with 50 schools to conduct Smarter Lunchroom Assessments in the school’s cafeterias. Schools that participate will receive a small financial incentive to complete 10 activities in the cafeteria. The MSU Extension staff members that are leading this partnership include Dawn Earnesty, Sheilah Hebert and Becky Henne.

The evidence-based activities are designed to equip schools with tools that improve children’s eating behaviors, and improve the cafeteria environment and food offerings. Thirty-five of those schools will also be given the opportunity to receive additional support from MSU Extension staff to implement a Healthier School Environment Toolkit. The toolkit will include resources on Coordinated School Health Teams, Healthy School Action Tool Assessment, Local School Wellness Policies, Smart Snacks legislation and other evidence-based strategies such as taste testing, working with student teams, healthy meetings, and adult and peer modeling and coaching to make healthy choices.

MSU Extension staff will receive specialized training on conducting Smarter Lunchroom Assessments, a program designed by the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs.

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Filed under Accomplishments, Nutrition

Teaching wellness online with grant from NIFA

Dawn Earnesty, one of our educators for Michigan State University Extension in the Health and Nutrition Institute, took the lead in creating an online nutrition education course called My Way to Wellness. On August 18, Dr. Jean Kerver, a specialist within the Health and Nutrition Institute, received news that our multilevel approach to worksite wellness would be receiving funds ($147,000) from NIFA, as part of the Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program.

If you haven’t heard about it already, My Way to Wellness is an opportunity for individuals to learn through self-paced learning modules that include the following subjects: personal goal-setting, nutritional needs and physical activity, building a healthy MyPlate, energy, picking the best portions, healthy habits for a healthy life and more. Although a healthy lifestyle is important for those of any age, making positive choices in terms of health and fitness as adults is crucial in determining many factors. Eating well reduces the risk of chronic disease, promotes energy and ultimately affects an individual’s weight and the way he or she feels.

Because the My Way to Wellness course is offered online, it is easy to accommodate to any schedule. Participants can complete the program at ease in the comfort of their own homes or in personal settings.

The convenience and accessibility of the program made it a prime candidate for the Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program. This fills a serious need because, according to the USDA, “Many individuals and families living in rural areas and communities experience disparities related to health and well-being…the opportunity to receive health information, or engage in health promotion activities is often limited…” This program will provide easily accessible, research-based information to those constituents.

The grant will provide an opportunity to provide a comprehensive worksite health promotion program with a personalized online component for individual Shiawassee County school district employees using resources developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and MSU Extension.

Reaching our audiences where they are has always been a goal of MSU Extension, and it’s exciting to see our educators get additional resources to help them do that.

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Filed under health

USDA study reports MSU Extension’s role in leading older adults to make healthy food choices

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a study Dec. 5 demonstrating that well-designed nutrition education programs can lead to healthier food choices by participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The study, SNAP Education and Evaluation Study (Wave II), evaluated the impact of several nutrition education programs on fruit and vegetable consumption among elementary school children and seniors living in low-income situations. It evaluated programs implemented by the Iowa Nutrition Network, the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and Michigan State University Extension.

Our MSU Extension colleagues provided nutrition education expertise to income-eligible senior adults. Researchers found that participants in the Eat Smart, Live Strong program increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables.

The results of the study show the role of nutrition education in helping SNAP-Ed participants make healthy food choices. MSU Extension plays a strategic part in delivering that education as well as fully documenting the outcomes of our work.

I’d like to thank Dr. Olga Santiago, MSU Extension health and nutrition specialist, for her leadership in the program. Dr. Santiago, along with Health and Nutrition Institute director Dr. Dawn Contreras and former state SNAP-Ed coordinator Ben Chamberlain were principal investigators on the project. It took many people to work on the study design, study implementation, data analysis and report. The program involved program assistants and instructors, educators, supervisory educators, data entry staff and business office support staff across 13 counties ‒ too numerous to mention here but appreciated nonetheless. Thank you to everyone for a successful outcome. Thanks also to the older adults and senior center managers who completed the evaluation surveys and participated in the study. Congratulations to all!

Read the SNAP Education and Evaluation Study (Wave II) including two individual reports on MSU Extension’s role: http://www.fns.usda.gov/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-education-and-evaluation-study-wave-ii

Read this USDA FNS news release about the study:  http://www.fns.usda.gov/pressrelease/2013/fns-001313

Read this ANR Communications news release about the study: http://anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/news/item/msu_extension_snap_ed_program_helps_low_income_older_adults_eat_healthier

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Filed under Nutrition