4-H, EFNEP combine exercise with healthy habits at youth programs

July 30, 2013 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Up for the Challenge teaches kids about healthy livingAs the result of a $2 million donation from the Walmart Foundation to expand the Walmart 4-H Youth Voice: Youth Choice program in Delaware and 20 other states, 4-H and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Cooperative Extension personnel and volunteers have teamed up to prove that they are “Up for the Challenge” when it comes to teaching healthy living habits to young Delawareans.

In Delaware, 3,000 youths will receive six hours of the Up for the Challenge: Lifetime Fitness, Healthy Decision curriculum delivered by Cooperative Extension staff and a cadre of teenagers. They have been trained to deliver the curriculum in afterschool programs, community centers, 4-H clubs and other sites.

The program, geared toward young people ages 8-12, will be implemented at all Delaware 4-H afterschool sites, including the seven Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) sites, all of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and EFNEP sites and Dover Air Force Base sites. These sites reach 2,000-plus youths.

Delaware has had a strong nutritional education presence through 4-H, EFNEP and SNAP-Ed but one of the things that makes Up for the Challenge unique is that it will be taught by both adult instructors and teen educators.

Sue Snider, coordinator of EFNEP, Cooperative Extension food and nutrition specialist and professor of animal and food sciences in the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said of the program, “EFNEP nutrition assistants have conducted hands-on educational programs for low-income youth for years. What makes this summer’s classes awesome and special are the teens.”

“This particular topic is awesome because it’s the nutrition and the fitness,” said Karen Johnston, a UD Cooperative Extension agent of Up for the Challenge. “We’ve been doing a great job of using youth and adult educators in tobacco drug and alcohol prevention — we’ve done that throughout the state for a few years now and reached thousands of people. This is nice because now we have the nutrition and the fitness components, so that’s a really great collaboration.”

At Kirk Middle School in Newark, Del. — one of the New Castle County locations where the Up for the Challenge curriculum was being taught — EFNEP nutrition assistant Carmella Johnson was teaching participants about grains while also taking time to inform them about yoga. “It’s healthy eating incorporated with exercise,” said Johnson. “It’s a mixture of both throughout the day.”

Johnson said that the young people are taught about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate, which is the new food pyramid, while also learning about things like portion control and reading labels on foods and drinks that they consume.

“A lot of them don’t really think about soda and sugary drinks as being calories,” said Johnson. “They’re drinking a lot of calories but they don’t see that, so we talked about reading labels. If you start reading your labels, you’ll see how many calories you drink and they do add up.”

Johnson added, “Many children just don’t know all the aspects of good nutrition or food preparation and that’s what’s nice about Up for the Challenge — it’s very hands on so the young person has an opportunity to not just learn the plate but also they actually make food in the class.”

Snider said that a 2011 Youth Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention noted that 43 percent of Delaware youth reported that they did not get 60 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week.

Johnston added that having instructors who are closer in age to the children — who teach the classes in conjunction with the adult instructors — helps the young people get excited about learning about healthy living practices. “That’s just so pivotal, having that experiential learning, and it’s memorable,” she said. “The kids are really responding to the youth presence as well as the adult presence in this hands-on activity.”

To learn more about Up for the Challenge, visit the website.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

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Delaware jockeys help expand nutrition education program for riders

June 21, 2012 under Cooperative Extension

Delaware jockeys are continuing their support of a nutrition program to help improve jockey health and safety on the state’s racetracks with a donation Wednesday.

The Delaware Jockeys Health and Welfare Fund presented $1,000 to the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension to continue an initiative begun in 2009 to improve jockey nutrition.

With jockeys facing strict weight limits to participate in races and not impede their horses, many riders can develop eating disorders or practice other unhealthy behaviors to get their weight down before races. Such practices can hinder their riding abilities and safety on the horse, said John F. Wayne, executive director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission.

“This program helps educate jockeys about the risks to their health and the health of their horses,” Wayne said. “Healthy riders are safer riders, and we all want races to be safe.”

The donation made Wednesday will provide new jockeys with information to make healthy choices in their daily diets. The nutrition education effort was launched in 2009 with a study by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and a collaboration with the Delaware Jockey Health and Welfare Benefit Board and the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. An advisory committee of current and former jockeys was appointed to help meet riders’ needs.

“I am not aware of any other nutrition education program in the U.S. for jockeys,” said Dr. Sue Snider, a professor and food safety and nutrition specialist with the University of Delaware. “During the program offered by UD Cooperative Extension, jockeys are encouraged to eat small amounts of food throughout the day, especially in the morning.  Based on our original survey, the average jockey consumes around 1,000 calories a day.  The program focuses on getting the most nutrients for the fewest calories.”

Dr. Michelle Rodgers, associate dean and director of UD Cooperative Extension, said: “Helping individuals apply nutrition concepts to meet their diet and health needs has been a long standing component of Extension programming. However, this is a new audience with some specific needs for us to work with.”

The Delaware Jockeys Health and Welfare Benefit Board oversees management of a $350,000 fund each year, offsetting health and welfare costs for participating riders. Half of the money comes from track video lottery funds and half from the Horsemen’s Purse Account. Delaware Park also has a $1 million on-track injury policy in force, covering riders injured during racing, and has the option to accept an additional $1 million on-track policy for $4 per mount, with the other portion of the premium covered by the Jockeys Health and Welfare Fund.

Article courtesy of the Delaware Department of Agriculture

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Cooperative Extension teaches low-income Delawareans about healthy eating

August 24, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Low-income families in Delaware looking for healthier food options and ways to lower their grocery bills have friends in University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, which offers two free programs aimed at educating low-income families and individuals on how to make healthier food choices without breaking the bank.

Sue Snider, Cooperative Extension food and nutrition specialist and professor of animal and food sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said the two programs are the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-ED).

EFNEP “has been making a difference in the lives of families with young children since 1969″ and is “100 percent federally funded,” Snider said.

The nationwide program is available in all three counties of Delaware, with UD heading the programs in New Castle and Sussex counties and Delaware State University heading the program in Kent County.

Any low-income individual with children is eligible for the EFNEP program, and UD’s role is to provide trained paraprofessionals who teach people within specific communities about nutrition.

Snider said the paraprofessionals educate individuals on “the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the dairy and the protein group that make up a healthy diet. We talk about how to select and prepare low-cost items that belong in each group, we talk about how to safely handle them, and we talk about why they’re important to include.”

EFNEP also includes a summer program, in which Extension Scholars and summer interns who have learned from nutrition assistants head to summer camps to teach children — mainly 8-12 year olds — the merits of eating healthy. This year, the theme was “Boning up on Health” and it focused on the importance of calcium and physical activity to prevent osteoporosis and broken bones.

“Part of EFNEP is to work with children of low-income families and in Delaware we have chosen to do this mainly in the summer through various camps,” said Snider.

SNAP-ED program

The second program run by Cooperative Extension is SNAP-ED, which is the new name for food stamps, and this program targets low-income individuals who are not eligible for EFNEP. This includes single people or older individuals who no longer have children living at home.

SNAP-ED is available in all three counties, and the curriculum is similar to that of EFNEP but tweaked to cater to the needs of individuals without children.

Snider stressed that both of these programs are free to anyone who is interested and are also available in Spanish.

The programs are set up by the Extension program’s nutrition assistants and are usually held in conjunction with various agencies, community centers, housing developments, churches and other groups that are working with low-income individuals.

“This is a program that I wish we could offer to everybody in Delaware,” Snider said. “I think that anybody who is low-income could certainly benefit and feel special that they have this opportunity to take part in this particular program. It really, really gets at the heart of health and wellbeing, and eating appropriately.”

In a state in which 28 percent of adults are obese, according to a July report by the Trust for America’s Health in cooperation with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the more information for Delawareans about healthier meals, the better.

Snider said that if there is a group or an organization that works with a low-income target population that is interested in the program, or if there are individuals interested in the program, they should contact their county extension office at 302- 831-2506 for New Castle County, 302-730-4000 for Kent County, or 302-856-7303 for Sussex County, or contact the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at 302-831-2524.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley

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UD helps keep jockeys race ready

August 30, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Thoroughbred racing requires jockeys to maintain a low body weight, which often causes riders to indulge in unhealthy behaviors such as skipping meals or overeating and purging, especially on the day of a race. These actions can be dangerous for the jockeys, leading to dehydration, loss of concentration, and decrease in mental and physical abilities.

University of Delaware Cooperative Extension is continuing its partnership with Delaware Park to research how jockeys eat, and creating a nutritional program that will enhance the jockeys’ performance while supporting a healthy lifestyle.

To educate and protect the riders, Cooperative Extension specialist Sue Snider and her team worked with the jockey health and welfare benefit board at Delaware Park to conduct individual assessments to determine the jockeys’ eating habits and create personalized diet recommendations.

Snider and Nancy Cotugna, professor of nutrition at UD, spent six months surveying the jockeys about their diets and the practices they followed to maintain a low weight. The Cooperative Extension team then created an educational program focusing the importance of eating small amounts of nutritious, low-calorie foods throughout the day to sustain energy.

“The healthy eating practices were based on looking at the actual practices of the jockeys, their need to maintain a weight appropriate for racing, and good nutrition practices,” Snider said. “We looked at the literature, especially recommendations from other counties such as Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.”

Snider said members of the board, along with Robert Colton, president of the Delaware Jockey’s Association, and Wesley Jones, a counselor with the Backstretch Employee Assistance Program, were “extremely helpful in assisting us to understand the jockey’s needs and the restraints under which they work.”

The Cooperative Extension team delivered an educational program at Delaware Park in June that brought jockeys and their families together to discuss food and nutrition.

Cheryl Bush, a Cooperative Extension agent, said the event was meant to facilitate a conversation within the family.

“It’s kind of a taboo subject, jockey weight,” Bush said. “We hoped that by bringing this to the whole family, there would be more discussion between spouses, more pressure on the jockeys to eat better.”

The next step is to look at the food service given to jockeys at Delaware Park and other locations and to make suggestions for more nutritious options. A group of jockeys are assessing what foods they would like to have available in the jockey room for purchase during races.

“This has been a wonderful project,” Snider said. “The jockeys are a great group and have been extremely accepting of us. Their job is extremely demanding and hopefully our suggestions will help their performance and overall well-being.”

Read the full story on UDaily by clicking here.

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Cooperative Extension Announces 2010 Extension Scholars

May 10, 2010 under CANR News

University of Delaware Cooperative Extension recently announced its 2010 Extension Scholars. This innovative program, open to rising UD juniors, seniors and graduate students, offers a 10-week internship with Cooperative Extension during the summer months. The Scholars began their work experience in early June.

The Scholars are: Stephanie Fraze of Newark, DE; Alexandra Barnard of Ellicott City, Md., Emily Johnson of Bridgeville, Del.; Marissa Gilinksy of Brick, N.J., and James Vari of Bear, Del.   

The Scholars are engaged in projects that relate to their career interests. In the case of undergraduate Stephanie Fraze that means working with Carissa Wickens, a UD assistant professor of animal science, on equine education programs for youth and adults. For graduate student Marissa Gilinsky, it’s the opportunity to collaborate with Sue Snider, Cooperative Extension specialist for food and nutrition, on nutrition programs at summer camps statewide.

Jan Seitz, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of UD Cooperative Extension, created the Extension Scholar program in 2004 to give UD students an opportunity to become fully engaged in service learning, which has long been a hallmark of the Cooperative Extension Service.

“The work that Extension Scholars carry out each summer is integrated into their academic curriculum; meet the needs of local communities; provide structured time for reflection; and help foster civic responsibility,” says Seitz. “This year, our pool of applicants for the Scholar program was the largest ever. The 2010 Scholars are an impressive group and I am eager to see all that they accomplish this summer.”

Extension Scholars receive a stipend of $3,000 and, if needed, an allowance of $500 for job-related travel and/or housing. The program is funded by Cooperative Extension and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, as well as other sources, including a generous contribution from Chet and Sally Dickerson. To receive information about the 2011 Extension Scholar program, contact Alice Moore at ammoore@udel.edu.

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Food safety training offered to potential on-farm food entrepreneurs on April 3

March 11, 2010 under CANR News

Dr. Sue Snider, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, will provide food safety training for potential on-farm food entrepreneurs who wish to produce non-potentially hazardous foods in their licensed on-farm kitchen. The eight hour training will be held at the Delaware Department of Agriculture on Saturday, April 3, 2010 from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Beverages will be provided. Participants are asked to bring their own lunch.

Participants must complete eight hours of training and pass a written test on the materials presented in order to receive a certificate and be eligible to have their on-farm kitchen inspected and licensed.

As a result of training in food safety, participants will be able to:
• Identify potentially hazardous and non-potentially hazardous foods,
• Appreciate foodborne pathogens and understand ways to control them,
• Apply basic principles to reduce the risk of foodborne illness
• Evaluate their plan for controlling potential microbial problems in their operation, and
• Understand requirements of the regulations for farm produced non-potentially hazardous food items.

In January 2006, Delaware’s regulations governing “On-Farm Home Processing of Non-Potentially Hazardous Foods” were adopted. Farmers who wish to process non-potentially hazardous foods in their on-farm home kitchens for sale to the public at farmers’ markets, on-farm markets, or roadside stands must abide by these regulations. These regulations established standards of practice for on-farm home food processing operations that safeguard public health and provide consumers with food that is safe, unadulterated, and honestly presented.

The regulations provide definitions, define operator qualifications, and establish operation food safety and physical facility requirements. Non-potentially hazardous foods include:
• Baked breads, cakes, muffins, or cookies with a water activity of .85 or less;
• Candy (non-chocolate);
• Containerized fruit preparations consisting of jellies, jams, preserves, marmalades, and fruit butters with an equilibrated pH of 4.6 or less or a water activity of 0.85 or less;
• Fruit pies with an equilibrated pH of 4.6 or less;
• Herbs in vinegar with an equilibrated pH of 4.6 or less;
• Honey and herb mixtures;
• Dried fruit and vegetables;
• Spices or herbs
• Maple syrup and sorghum
• Snack items such as popcorn, caramel corn, and peanut brittle
• Roasted nuts

Under the regulations, potential on-farm food entrepreneurs will be required to have eight hours of food safety training and have their farm kitchens inspected.

Copies of these regulations and applications are available on the Delaware Department of Agriculture website: www.dda.delaware.gov

On-farm kitchens will be inspected by appointment.

For more information, to register for the training, or to receive a copy of the regulations, please call or e-mail Sheree Nichols at the Delaware Department of Agriculture:
Phone: (800) 282-8685 (DE only) or (302) 698-4521
E-Mail: sheree.nichols@state.de.us

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Food safety training offered to potential on-farm food entrepreneurs

January 14, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Dr. Sue Snider, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, will provide food safety training for potential on-farm food entrepreneurs during a two-session, eight hour training that will be held at the Delaware Department of Agriculture on the following dates:

February 11, 2010 February 18, 2010
6:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M. 6:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.

Participants must complete eight hours of training and pass a written test on the materials presented in order to receive a certificate.

As a result of training in food safety, participants will be able to: Identify potentially and non-potentially hazardous foods, Appreciate foodborne pathogens and understand ways to control them, Apply the basic principles to reduce the risk of foodborne illness Evaluate your plan for controlling potential microbial problems in your operation, and Understand requirements of the new regulations for farm produced food items.

In January 2006, Delaware’s new regulations governing “On-Farm Home Processing of Non-Potentially Hazardous Foods” were adopted. Farmers who wish to process non-potentially hazardous foods in their on-farm home kitchens for sale to the public at farmers’ markets, on-farm markets, or roadside stands must abide by these regulations.

These regulations established standards of practice for on-farm home food processing operations that safeguard public health and provide consumers with food that is safe, unadulterated, and honestly presented.

The regulations provide definitions, define operator qualifications, and establish operation food safety and physical facility requirements. Non-potentially hazardous foods include: Baked breads, cakes, muffins, or cookies with a water activity of .85 or less; Candy (non-chocolate); Containerized fruit preparations consisting of jellies, jams, preserves, marmalades, and fruit butters with an equilibrated pH of 4.6 or less or a water activity of 0.85 or less; Fruit pies with an equilibrated pH of 4.6 or less; Herbs in vinegar with an equilibrated pH of 4.6 or less; Honey and herb mixtures; Dried fruit and vegetables; Spices or herbs Maple syrup and sorghum Snack items such as popcorn, caramel corn, and peanut brittle Roasted nuts.

Under the regulations, potential on-farm food entrepreneurs will be required to have eight hours of food safety training and have their farm kitchens inspected.

Copies of these regulations and applications are available on the Delaware Department of Agriculture website.

On-farm kitchens will be inspected by appointment.

For more information, to register for the training, or to receive a copy of the regulations, please call or e-mail Sheree Nichols at the Delaware Department of Agriculture: Phone: (800) 282-8685 (DE only) or (302) 698-4521
E-Mail: sheree.nichols@state.de.us.

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