Gluesenkamp Perez Leads Bipartisan Effort to Fund Food and Nutrition Education Program

May 09, 2024
Press

Last week, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) and Rep. Marc Molinaro (NY-19) led a bipartisan letter with several of their colleagues, urging the House Appropriations Committee to provide robust funding for the USDA’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in Fiscal Year 2025.

EFNEP improves the nutritional health and well-being of families with low-incomes and in rural communities. In 2023, EFNEP educators worked directly with 50,649 adults and 204,222 youth across 76 Land-Grant University Cooperative Extension programs. Of these participants, 400 adults and 2,272 youth were graduates of the EFNEP program in Washington state.

EFNEP graduates show significant improvements toward health, wellbeing, nutrition, and food security. In 2023, 99 percent of participants reported improvements in diet quality and 88 percent increased their physical activity levels. EFNEP peer educators are members of the communities they serve and adapt teaching methods to embrace family dynamics and cultural differences.

EFNEP also leads to public savings. Research shows that better health is associated with reduced health care costs, less absenteeism from work and school, and less dependence on emergency food assistance. A pilot study documented $8.70 in health care savings per $1.00 spent on EFNEP in Washington state.

“When kids and families know how to prepare nourishing meals and identify nutritious options at the store, they have healthier and brighter futures,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “By ensuring EFNEP has robust funding, we can equip folks in rural and low-income communities with the tools they need to lead healthy lives.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.

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