CFHL, UCCE Kern offers evidence-based food and nutrition education to 42 parents. Participants improved their food resource management and nutrition practices, contributing to UC ANR's public value of promoting healthy people and communities.
According to KidsData, Kern County has a food insecurity rate that is higher than the state average at 23.8%, compared to California's overall rate of 18%. Obesity rates are also high, with nearly 50% of children and 74% of adults being either overweight or obese.
Southeast Neighborhood Partnership Family Resource Center (FRC) is a non-profit organization located in Bakersfield, CA. Southeast Neighborhood Partnership FRC is dedicated to providing outreach, case management, and supportive services for families in need. They also provide parenting classes that can be attended voluntarily or mandated by court orders for Kern County residents.
How UC Delivers
The Southeast Neighborhood Partnership FRC staff requested that CFHL, UCCE Kern assist with providing evidence-based nutrition lessons for their 42 parents to satisfy a 12-week parenting course. As a result, nutrition and physical activity direct education efforts were remotely conducted via Zoom from April through June 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic
Lesson objectives focused on advancing actions and behaviors that improve health and wellness for participants and their families. CFHL, UCCE Kern staff provided parents lesson handouts from the Plan, Shop, Save, & Cook curriculum. Parents received information regarding how to plan, read nutrition labels, save money on food, and food safety. Virtual education allowed the CFHL, UCCE Kern team to provide services to residents in Ridgecrest, Mojave, and Buttonwillow. These outlying cities in Kern were previously not reached due to geographic distance.
During Zoom meetings, several participants shared that they began to increase vegetable servings in their meals, and others shared that they were now reading the nutrition facts label to choose healthier food and snacks for their family.
Plan, Shop, Save, and Cook (PSSC) adult participant evaluation survey results indicated that after attending the Plan, Shop, Save & Cook series, out of the 30 survey respondents:
o 33% reported running out of food before the end of the month less often, indicating an improvement in families' food security.
o 90% reported improvement in at least 1 of 5 food resource management behaviors (plan, prices, shop, think, facts).
o 80% reported using MyPlate to make food choices more often.
o 67% reported that they use "Nutrition Facts" on the food label to make food choices more often.
o 53% reported shopping with a grocery list more often.
o 40% reported planning meals ahead of time more often.
o 43% reported comparing unit prices before buying food more often.
o 27% reported that when deciding what to feed their family, they thought about healthy food choices more often.
In addition, adults (n=30) who participated in the Plan, Shop, Save & Cook series showed statistically significant improvements (p<.05) from the pre to post survey in how often they planned meals ahead of time, shopped with a grocery list, used the “Nutrition Facts” on the food label, used MyPlate to make food choices, and used the five food resource management behaviors (plan, price, shop, think, fact).
These changes in budgeting, nutrition knowledge, and skills of families in Kern County demonstrate UC ANR's commitment to healthy people and communities and safeguarding abundant, healthy food for all Californians.
“Our partnership with CalFresh Healthy Living, UCCE Kern County program has been key in providing our clients the health education they need to care for their children properly. CFHL, UCCE Kern staff have been so insightful and consistent in educating our participants regarding meal planning, food labels, saving money and cooking meals for years now. Our collaboration has been essential in providing our court mandated parenting clients with the nutrition component needed to meet the criteria required by the Department of Human Services. Thank you so much for all your help, we truly appreciate our partnership.” – Cecilia R., Parent Educator, Southeast Neighborhood Partnership FRC