Evaluation of a USDA Nutrition Education Program for Low-income Youth

Marilyn S. Townsend, Margaret Johns, Mical Kay Shilts, Lucrecia Farfan-Ramirez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objective: Examine effectiveness of a state's Youth Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and assess the validity of the federal impact indicator method for reporting program outcomes. Design: A randomized, controlled field trial of 229 groups with 5,111 youth, 9-12 years old, in community settings. Intervention: 6- to 8- hour, 7-lesson education experience with food preparation and tasting, an education experience typical of EFNEP in California. Outcome Measures: US Department of Agriculture (USDA) impact indicators: nutrition knowledge, eating a variety of foods, food selection, and food preparation and safety practices. Analysis: Analysis of covariance model controlling for pretest, gender, age, and ethnicity, with group nested in condition. Results: Organizing responses by impact indicators, treatment participants made significant gains on the posttest compared to controls for 3 of 4 indicators (P < .008 to P < .0001). Gains were made by 34 to 68% of youth participants for 4 indicators. The impact indicator method for federal reporting compared favorably with results from a randomized controlled trial with groups nested in conditions. Conclusion and Implications: This is the first report in the literature of (1) a large evaluation study of Youth EFNEP and (2) an estimate of the validity of the USDA impact indicator method for reporting program outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-41
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • children
  • evaluation
  • impact indicator
  • USDA
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • Food Science


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