Obesity, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity disproportionately affect minority and low-income citizens. Of the estimated 105,893 residents in Columbiana County, 11.8 percent of families with children live in poverty. In an effort to reduce this disparity and improve the health and well-being of Ohioans, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) teaches an eight-lesson nutrition education series to low-income families with children. EFNEP, funded by USDA-NIFA, contributed $20,000 this year, funding .7 FTE staff in the OSU Extension office.
- Chronic diseases are largely preventable through a healthy lifestyle involving a balanced diet and regular physical activity. More than half of graduates increased their physical activity levels and fruit and vegetable consumption upon completing EFNEP.
- A total of 191 family members were impacted by EFNEP. The 26 adult graduates significantly increased knowledge and improved behaviors in diet quality (100 percent), food resource management (81 percent), saving families $877, and food safety (54 percent), resulting in Columbiana County residents making healthier choices. A total of 127 youth participated in EFNEP in 2016 in preschool. After completing six lessons, youth reported significant increases in knowledge and positive behavior changes in the areas of diet quality (90 percent), food safety (36 percent), and physical activity (73 percent).
- EFNEP Success Story: Ms. F. is a 29-year-old female with five children under the age of 11. She has limited funds to make sure that her bills are paid and to feed her children. Ms. F. enrolled in EFNEP classes. Each week, she was amazed at how much money she was saving and how her food was beginning to stretch to the end of the month. She was making small changes in how she purchased food and planned meals. Ms. F was able to stretch her food dollar further and buy food that not only was good for her family, but that her family also would eat.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) is a free nutrition education program serving participants and low-income individuals eligible to receive SNAP benefits or other means of federal assistance programs. SNAP-Ed is funded by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service and serves in partnership with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and OSU Extension. The goal is to improve the likelihood that families and individuals who receive SNAP benefits will make healthy food choices and choose active lifestyles. This is a new-to-Columbiana County service that launched in April 2016. A total of 76 individuals, 36 families with no children and 36 elderly adults, were served through this program. We expect impact numbers to greatly increase in 2017 due to a full year of services.
Inactivity and lack of proper nutrition have been identified as risk factors in our community. The Columbiana County Growing Healthy Program incorporates prevention education and offers real-world solutions in areas such as nutrition, personal activity and fitness, social and emotional well-being, financial education, and identification of community issues and needs.
4-H Yoga for Kids is a program developed by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. The program is really for people of all ages, the flexible and inflexible, and helps kids (and their families) achieve optimal physical, social, and emotional health. There are many benefits to practicing yoga. It can make you stronger and more flexible. It can also improve lung function. Practicing yoga can also help kids reduce anxiety, and it promotes self-acceptance. Currently, the 4-H educator is working with Children and Family First and Columbiana County ESC to incorporate yoga into the ED classroom. Also, the Extension office has set dates for 2017 to work with the elementary physical education teacher at East Palestine City Schools to introduce yoga to the students. At least 20 youth campers were involved in morning yoga at Camp Whitewood during Columbiana County/ Lake County camp week, and 18 youth completed the yoga challenge during the 4-H Growing Healthy at the fair event.
The Columbiana County 4-H educator was invited to attend the first annual United Local Health Fair to promote health and wellness. The 4-H educator and four 4-H members led activities that included: Give Yourself a Hand; Walk, Why Not!; Water for Thirst First; 4-H Yoga; and Strive for Five. All activities were created using the CDC and Myplate guidelines for nutrition and physical fitness to help promote optimal health and chronic disease control. In all, 236 individuals including school staff, students, and parents attended the event and took part in the activities.
Real Money. Real World. is a youth financial literacy program that includes a series of five classroom lessons and a hands-on spending simulation that gives young people the opportunity to make financial choices similar to those they will make as adults. Youth explore how career choice impacts future earnings, lifestyle choices, and budgeting. Youth increased awareness of money management skills. The Extension educator partnered with the eighth-grade math teacher to present the program to the students as their math final, and 76 youth successfully completed the program in Columbiana County.
4-H projects are educational hands-on activities that allow youth to explore, gain knowledge, gain skills, and teach others in areas they have interests. Youth gain experience and life skills in leadership, environmental stewardship, critical life skills that prepare them to thrive across the lifespan and for success in the workforce as adults.
In Columbiana County, 4-H members signed up for the following project areas: 105 technology and engineering projects, 33 family and consumer sciences projects, 35 leadership and personal development projects, 44 environmental educational sciences projects, 43 communication and expressive arts projects, 1,036 animal science projects, and 79 foods, nutrition and health projects.
Teen leadership became a major focus in Columbiana County in 2016. Our Teen Council has 25 youth leaders who focus on community development and service. The youth are given tools for public speaking, interviewing, creating and facilitating lesson plans, addressing community needs and issues, and much more. Currently, we have 25 youth leaders. This program launched in November 2016, and we look forward to exciting results.
Columbiana County had 108 Cloverbud members in 2016. Youth ages 5-8 participate in adult- or adolescent-led activities that explore topics such as health, earth and the environment, plants and animals, science and technology, and personal development.
Volunteers help make 4-H possible. Without 4-H volunteers, the program would not have the mentors and leaders that Ohio's youth need so they can learn the new skills that 4-H has to offer. Each volunteer brings knowledge, experiences, and skills which can be taught to 4-H members and shared with the 4-H program "to make the best better." Since 1902, volunteers have helped the 4-H program develop successful leaders, build young minds, and set the path for 4-H members to take the world by storm. 4-H volunteers must complete an application process, pass a BCI background check, and complete yearly trainings that include child abuse and neglect recognition. This year, 173 Columbiana County volunteers completed the certification process to provide caring adult direction and education through clinics, clubs, and event management to our 742 youth members.
Voices for Food is a multi-state research and Extension project funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture that addresses food insecurity and healthy food access in rural communities. Rural communities often have high rates of food insecurity and diet-related chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. Extension-led community coaching and grant funding was provided to the East Liverpool Food Council and the Community Resource Center food pantry. Partly as a result of this process, a community garden with more than 30 raised beds was developed for residents to use. In addition, a food pantry was converted to a “Myplate” guided choice model where clients can choose their own food based on preference, need, or dietary considerations. Nutrition education is integrated as clients learn about “Myplate” food groups and health messages. We plan to expand our efforts this coming spring to include Voices for Food ambassador training.
Quality assurance is a pledge or promise to provide a food animal product preferred by consumers, and provide a safe, wholesome, food animal product. Food animals are those whose products (meat, milk, and eggs) will become part of the food chain. Food safety is paramount to animal agriculture, assuring consumer acceptance and confidence in a market where competing proteins and other alternatives are emerging to rival food products of animal origin. Plus, issues with animal welfare in agricultural livestock production must be addressed at all levels of food animal production. Youth involved in food animal exhibits, by definition, are food animal producers. Youth food animal producers, at the end of the project, will sell their animal(s) and food products intended for human consumption. Knowledge and mastery of genetics, nutrition, management, handling, and environment of food animals play a critical role in producing safe, wholesome food products for consumers. The Ohio Department of Agriculture mandates that all youth exhibiting food animal projects participate annually in quality assurance programming. OSU Extension provides the leadership for implementing quality assurance programs, in partnership with agricultural educators and agricultural societies. By participating in science-based experiential learning activities, 4-H members learn how to ensure that products from their 4-H food animals are safe for consumers, and their actions inspire general public and consumer confidence. This year, 419 community youth completed quality assurance training.