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Oklahoma State University


Last year, Community Nutrition Education Programs (CNEP) provided long-term nutrition education to 4,785 low-income families and 23,332 youth, directly affecting the lives of more than 50,000 Oklahomans in 44 Counties. 

Working through Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service (OCES) county offices, teaching paraprofessionals known as Nutrition Education Assistants (NEAs) coach participants during weekly lessons to build skills that enable them to stretch their family food dollars, plan and prepare more nutritious meals and increase physical activity.

The research-based lessons involve hands-on learning experiences and can take place in the participant’s home or in small group settings.

CNEP is also active in elementary school classrooms by offering a series of classroom-based lessons on healthy food choices and safe food practices to third grade and fourth grade students.

Additionally, CNEP has joined OCES, university, community and commodity partners to fund the Farm to You exhibit, a 40’ by 40’ enclosed traveling interactive adventure for elementary school children that follows food from the farm to the market and through the body to explore the relationships between agriculture, food and health. This provides a unique supplement to the classroom curriculum and specifically addresses the nutrition, health and agricultural education needs of Oklahoma youth.

Making a Difference
Oklahoma’s statistics on hunger and food insecurity are startling. However, by serving the state’s limited-income populations, CNEP is working to improve the conditions of those most in need.

How is CNEP making a difference?
•  39% of participating families ran out of food less often before the end of the month.

•  38% of CNEP graduates reported their children ate breakfast more often.

•  About 96% of participants demonstrated a positive change toward a healthy diet.

Who are CNEP participants?
•  Serving those most in need, 64% of participating families are at least 
50% below the poverty level.

•  43% of CNEP participants are ethnic minorities. In Oklahoma, CNEP reaches a more ethnically diverse population than the Supplemental Nutrition   Assistance Program (SNAP). 

 Why is CNEP so effective?
•  CNEP works in partnership with WIC, local schools, food stamp offices 
and emergency food services to help families in need while avoiding duplication of services.

•  Graduates of the program received an average of 12 lessons.