There are so many facets to MSU Extension and today I would like to highlight our Nutrition SNAP-ED program. This is the Montana State University Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education, which supports low income Montanans in making the healthy choice the easy choice when it comes to nutrition and physical activity. We know that 77% of Montana adults do not participate in enough physical activity to meet guidelines, that 74% of Montana adults eat less than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and 29% of Montana children ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese. To combat these challenges, SNAP-ED teaches low income youth and adults how to eat, live, learn, work, play, and shop within their communities to make healthier choices.
Locally, Jodi Duncan is the SNAP-Ed instructor based out of our Glacier county office, with primary responsibilities of serving the Blackfeet Reservation in addition to the Cut Bank and Shelby communities as time permits. She started this position in September, and has certainly hit the ground running! In October alone, Jodi taught a total of 30 different classes, which reached 460 individuals! Jodi has been teaching 1st, 3rd, and 5th graders at the Babb Elementary School, and 9 different classes of 1st graders at the Vina Chattin Elementary School in Browning. She has also begun teaching classes here in the Cut Bank schools, and has been working on scheduling classes with the Shelby Elementary School as well.
Each lesson that Jodi teaches focuses on both nutrition and physical activity. Students are given the opportunity to sample a healthy food during each class which has exposed many students to fruits and vegetables that they may not normally try. Some examples of the samplings that students tried last month included whole grain trail mix, vegetable soup, yogurt parfait, and a peanut butter yogurt dip with apples.
Statewide, the MSU Extension Nutrition Education team reached 8,152 Montanans with direct education efforts in this last grant year. There were 920 adults that participated in the Eating Smart, Being Active series and 7,103 youth that participated in the Youth Understanding MyPlate series in the 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades across Montana.
Thank you to the schools that have partnered with the MSU Extension SNAP-Ed program. It’s exciting to hear the stories of 1st graders that want a second helping of vegetable soup, or the kids that see Jodi in the grocery store or tell her that they had their parents pick up a fruit they tried in class! The SNAP-ED program is just one more way that MSU Extension is making an impact in
Kari Lewis, MSU Extension - Glacier County