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Healthy foods, fresh fish and vegetables, fruits.

*This is an excerpt from The Urban Difference: Report 2020

Educating teens about eating a nutritious diet can reduce their intake of unhealthy foods.

Urban EFNEP: Teens Beat the Binge

The isolation of COVID-19 caused many teens to spend more time online and to binge on unhealthy food. The National Eating Disorders Association reported that calls to their hotline rose 40 percent. Although Americans spent more time at home, teens and some parents were still more likely to order food outside the home. Also, fully stocked home pantries made food more accessible to teens. 

Alabama Extension’s nutrition education courses enable youth and families to develop healthy eating habits. In 2020, The Urban EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) reached 231 Hispanic youth and adults. Participants learned about basic nutrition, how to plan and make healthier meals and snacks, and how to apply food safety skills and smart shopping decisions when
purchasing food. 

As a result of this training:

  • 147 (79%) youth in grades 3-12 ate more fruit each day.
  • 132 (71%) youth in grades 3-12 ate more vegetables each day.
  • 52 (28%) youth also used food safety practices.
  • 41 (22%) youth increased physical activity. 

One interesting fact is the consumption rate of fruits and vegetables was higher among middle and high school students.


CHAMPION Shaping Your Health Live Online Series

Health literacy empowers people to make informed health decisions. 

CHAMPION: Shaping Your Health – Making Health Literacy Equitable

In Healthy People 2030, the national 10-year health objectives for America, the United States Department of Health and Human Services defines health literacy as personal and organizational. When it involves people, health literacy is the extent that people locate, comprehend, and use information and services to make informed health decisions for themselves and other people. Organizational health literacy is how organizations make finding, understanding, and using health information and services equitable for all people. Unfortunately, health literacy is not equal across health systems, just as there are health disparities that exist among certain population segments.

Funded by a USDA 1890 Capacity Building grant, the CHAMPION: Shaping Youth Health series is a health literacy program that empowers teens and adults to take charge of their health. Participants learn to obtain valuable information from health professionals and health systems that enables them to make informed health decisions. 

In 2020, the program’s five peer-reviewed lessons were implemented via Zoom and Facebook Live reaching 224 face-to-face and 23,101 virtual adult participants. Approximately 129 participants submitted post surveys with results as follows:  

  • 41 (32%) indicated their primary physician provides easy-to-understand health instructions.  
  • 61 (47%) indicated they understood how to take medication prescribed by a doctor. 
  • 54 (42%) stated their doctor listens and thoroughly explains health condition(s).
  • 40 (31%) never tracked health information through a patient portal compared to 48 (37%) that tracked their health information through a patient portal.
  • 46 (36%) agreed they understand medical terminology sometimes.
  • 102 (79%) visited their doctor once a year.
  • 54 (42%) never used telehealth services for doctor appointments compared to 46 (36%) that indicated they used telehealth services for appointments.


View other excerpts from The Urban Difference: Report 2020 here. 


Author & Editor, Wendi Williams, Communications & Marketing Coordinator, Alabama A&M University. Design/layout, Shannon Schoeneweiss, Technology Media Coordinator, Alabama A&M University.

New November 2021, The Urban Difference: Report 2020, UNP-2184


This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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