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Health and Nutrition Programs

Seniors CAN

Seniors CAN is a life skills educational program created by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) to optimize successful aging by improving older adults' quality of life and help them maintain high-quality independent living. This program addresses the needs of southern Nevada's rapidly growing elderly population in Clark County.


More than a quarter of Clark County's 85,000 new residents each year are seniors. With the majority of elderly residents being relative newcomers, many lack the traditional support structures associated with work and family. The elderly have the potential to make great contributions to the community or to overwhelm state and local budgets with medical and social service costs. The National Institutes of Health estimates that delaying nursing home entry nationwide for just one month would save the country $3 billion annually. A community-based educational intervention can be a cost-effective strategy to provide a model health intervention to reduce risk and promote the health and independence of older adults.

What Has Been Done:

The Seniors CAN curriculum includes 15 lessons on nutrition, personal safety, food safety, finance, general health and productivity over a 16-week period. Each student receives an average of 32 hours of instruction over the four-month period. The program is taught in both English and Spanish.

The program objectives are to utilize the well-documented advantages of lifelong learning in order to enhance seniors' sense of control over life, decrease loneliness and improve self-esteem, which research demonstrates leads to improved health outcomes. Using the train-the-trainer teaching model, volunteer instructors including graduate students, senior center directors, social service providers and older adult peer educators were recruited and trained to expand the program.

The curriculum is listed on the National Food Stamp Nutrition Connection Database and the CDC Health Promotion and Education Database, and has been sold to 31 states and Canada.


Health and Nutrition Programs

Programs Program Information

All 4 Kids

The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s (UNCE) All 4 Kids: Healthy, Happy, Active, Fit program is an interdisciplinary approach to addressing child obesity. Developed by UNCE faculty from maternal/child nutrition, exercise physiology and child development, the All 4 Kids program helps children meet the Nevada Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) Standards while encouraging preschool children and families to practice healthy eating habits and be active every day.

An Apple A Day

Calcium, It’s not Just Milk

The Calcium, It’s Not Just Milk program’s focus is to increase awareness, knowledge and skills among the target audience (11- to 14-year-old middle school students) related to increasing consumption of calcium-rich foods. These efforts have been promoted through classroom lessons and hands-on activities with the assistance and support of school district administrators and teachers.

Chefs for Kids

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) collaborated with the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Chefs of Las Vegas to develop nutrition education curricula that promote health practices engendering lifelong, healthy lifestyles in children. These practices can lower risk for heart disease and other chronic diseases. Chefs for Kids is an in-school nutrition education program for primary grade children in at-risk elementary schools in Clark and Washoe counties in Nevada. The program consists of two parts: an intensive, second-grade curriculum (Choose Well, Be Well) and a video curriculum (Adventures with Chefs for Kids) aimed at first-graders. The first-grade curriculum introduces the food groups to children and focuses on food for strength, growth, health and energy. The weekly second-grade program helps children choose foods that will give the greatest benefit to their bodies, as well as on physical activity and food safety practices.

Eat Smart, Live Strong

Improves fruit and vegetable consumption and use of commodity foods among seniors, many of whom are low-income, hungry or need nutrition-related assistance. The program includes classes on growing herbs and small vegetables in window pots, food safety tips and healthy recipes using commodity foods.

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

The mission of Nevada’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is to assist families with limited financial resources. Through educational support and experiential learning, the families acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes and changed behavior to improve their nutritional and health status in order to prevent chronic disease and enhance family well-being. Practical application allows learners to see the relevance of information to their daily lives.

Food for Health and Soul

Food for Health and Soul is a nutrition education curriculum designed to teach skills to modify family-favorite recipes for better health. The goal of this six-session curriculum is to decrease the risk for chronic disease. The interactive curriculum encourages and teaches families to modify their favorite recipes by decreasing sugar, fat, salt and sodium and increasing fiber-rich foods during preparation, decreasing the risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and some cancers. Most lessons include food preparation and sampling.

Food Safety Project

Grow Yourself Healthy

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS)

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS) is a compilation of evidence-based engagement and assessment tools that is used to audit and map community environmental features that support and/or hinder healthful eating and physical activity among community members. The MAPPS method integrates photography, participatory community mapping using global positioning system (GPS) technology, and residents’ voiced perceptions of their community. HEAL MAPPS engages people in community-based participatory research to document attributes of the rural community environment that are perceived by residents as obesity preventing or promoting and assess the local resources and readiness to implement community-level obesity prevention strategies to prevent unhealthy weight gain/overweight and obesity among children and their families.

Healthy Eating on a Budget


Healthy Steps to Freedom

Alcohol and drug addiction are serious, chronic and relapsing health problems for both women and men of all ages and backgrounds. Leading to physical and mental health problems, substance abuse often precipitates violence, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy, motor vehicle crashes, homelessness, rising health care costs and obesity.

Nevada Care Connection

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) collaborated with the University’s Sanford Center for Aging in the creation of a network for all Nevada seniors, their caregivers or relatives who need information, referral, social or health care services and case management at a single point of entry. Nevada Care Connection (NVCC) avoids duplication in the application process, is easily accessible (by phone, Internet or in person) and available 24 hours a day.

Nevada Radon Education Program

The Nevada Radon Education Program is a partnership with the Nevada State Health Division to educate Nevadans about the possible health risk posed by elevated levels of radon in the home. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) offers literature, educational programs and radon test kits in many county Extension offices.

Nurturing Partners

Working primarily in high schools, UNCE staff members are able to facilitate changes in knowledge, attitude and practice of teens regarding general nutrition and health, specific issues of pregnancy, breastfeeding and parenting guidance. The flexible curriculum enables staff to personalize needs for each class.

Nutrition Basics

Seniors CAN

Seniors CAN is a life skills educational program created by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) to optimize successful aging by improving older adults' quality of life and help them maintain high-quality independent living. This program addresses the needs of southern Nevada's rapidly growing elderly population in Clark County.

Small Steps 4 Big Changes

Parent involvement is recognized as a key factor in making wise food selections and shaping food and health behavior attitudes that affect the child’s habits and food preferences. Conducted in partnership with the 4-H Youth Development Program, a series of ten nutrition lessons incorporate recipe preparation, food sampling and physical activity segments, with additional nutrition education content for the parent or adult caregiver. All lesson segments are focused on thriving within a limited budget, as well as increasing fruit and vegetable intake. This program has been successfully offered to five Reno Housing Authority (RHA) and other 4-H After School Program sites since the initial launch of the pilot program. The program fosters behavior changes identified by the Centers for Disease Control as being linked to childhood obesity prevention.

Team Nutrition “Smart Choices”

This program strives to address the public health issue of childhood obesity through building basic skills related to food selection and promoting an increased variety of nutritious foods consumed especially vegetables and fruits.

Veggies for Kids

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s (UNCE) Veggies for Kids program takes a proactive approach toward eating and experiencing different kinds of vegetables for American Indian children at a young age.