Live Well with Cooperative Extension
by Robert Mills
March is Living Well Month, and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) has a wide variety of programs to help Nevadans raise the children, eat right, spend wisely and live well. While many UNCE programs focus on at-risk and special-needs communities, the overarching messages to care for the family, eat healthy, save money and be active resonate statewide.
The National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Services (NEAFCS) Living Well Campaign began in 2002 with a public-service and educational mission. Eight years later, the campaign is still going strong, thanks in part to such UNCE programs as Seniors Can — a life-skills curriculum with the goal of "successful aging" for Nevada’s rapidly growing elderly population.
"We have many programs that focus on specific communities," said Area Nutrition Specialist Mary Wilson. "Many of our programs are aimed at at-risk youth, seniors, single mothers and tribe members."
UNCE has over 20 different programs rich in information and resources to help Nevadans live healthy. Many of these programs focus on specific groups and provide lessons and information to help Nevadans meet health goals, understand nutrition or just get up and move.
Chefs for Kids—which has benefited Nevada youth for nearly two decades—focuses on second-grade students in high-needs schools throughout the state. Students learn healthy food combinations and foods that provide the greatest nutritional benefit. Through the program, children gain a greater understanding of the food groups and the importance of choosing healthy foods.
Family Nutrition Education provides limited-income families and food-stamp recipients with the knowledge and practical skills needed to manage the nutrition of the entire family. Educators deliver the program through a series of lessons focusing on basic nutrition, food safety, shopping, menu planning and food budgeting. Participants learn the benefits of advanced meal planning, comparative shopping and budgeting.
Food for Health and Soul is a food-preparation program designed to teach the skills necessary to modify existing family recipes to make them healthier. Educators advise participants to decrease sugar, fat, salt and sodium while increasing the rate of healthy, fiber-rich foods. The program’s overall aim is to assist minority groups by reducing the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and some cancers.
For information on other UNCE health and nutrition programs, click here.