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Human Sciences Extension offers educational programs and classes to help Alabamians stay healthy. Our research-based information in human nutrition, diet, and health are building blocks to developing healthy people, strong families, and elevated communities. These efforts are affiliated with Human Sciences Extension in the College of Human Sciences at Auburn University.


Description: Alabama has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the country—15 percent of the adult population has diabetes, and more than 1.3 million have prediabetes. In Alabama, approximately 31,000 new cases are diagnosed annually with estimated direct and indirect health care costs of $5.4 billion.

The Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP) is a free, six-week program of diabetes self-management strategies. Education is provided by Human Sciences Extension agents, who are certified DEEP lead trainers. In addition to working with individuals, DEEP also includes a training-of-trainers initiative.

Availability: Zoom or Face-to-Face

2019 Impact: A total of 420 people from 19 counties completed the six-week sessions. DEEP showed people affected by diabetes how to manage and control their disease. Significant differences were found between pre- and post-survey answers. For example, responses in the post-survey indicated that significantly more participants had started looking at and washing their feet every day. This made a difference when they found out that diabetes could lead to amputations.


Description: This program is designed to encourage physical activity and healthy eating in children ages 4 and 5 with fun, innovative, and interactive learning opportunities. The program stimulates all of the senses of young children: touch, smell, sight, sound, and, of course, taste. Color Me Healthy uses color, music, and exploration of the senses to teach children that healthy food and physical activity can be fun. Extension agents are certified instructors by North Carolina State Extension.

Availability: Zoom and Face-to-Face

2019 Impact. Seven Human Nutrition, Diet, and Health regional Extension agents partnered with early learning centers and preschools, parents, and teachers across Alabama to deliver developmentally appropriate childhood obesity prevention efforts. Of the 996 youth, 842 children increased consumption of fruits, 751 children increased consumption of vegetables, and 898 children increased physical activity.


Description: This initiative is one of the many ways Human Sciences Extension is tackling Alabama’s infant mortality rate and supporting obesity prevention. Extension agents work with child care providers to increase their knowledge and application of breastfeeding best practices by using direct education, policy change, and hands-on application. The initiative is endorsed by the Alabama Partnership for Children.

Availability: Zoom or Face-to-Face

2019 Impact: A total of 31 child care centers are certified as breastfeeding friendly, and 63 individuals completed the breastfeeding friendly child care training. More than 1,000 children under the age of 5 are being directly affected through the environmental and policy changes implemented because of the certification process. These mothers and children are seeing breastfeeding welcomed, supported, and encouraged in a multitude of ways including images of breastfeeding mothers, access to children’s books that include nursing mammals, and mothers being encouraged to nurse in the infant rooms.


Description: The Right Bite Diabetes Cooking School is a fun way to learn how to enjoy delicious food prepared with less fat, sugar, and sodium. Managing diabetes and other chronic diseases does not have to be boring or tasteless. The Right Bite Diabetes Cooking School shows people affected by diabetes how to enjoy healthy food, while controlling their diabetes. It provides excellent information that will help anyone preparing food to control diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other chronic disease. Participants learn about controlling portions, reading labels, using various sweeteners, choosing carbohydrates wisely, increasing fiber, choosing the right fats, and controlling high blood pressure.

Availability: Zoom or Face-to-Face

2019 Impact. Two Human Nutrition, Diet, and Health regional Extension agents collaborated with local and state partners to deliver diabetes meal planning with a focus on food preparation and nutrition. Thirty- two participants from three counties completed the four Right Bite lessons. Participants learned about controlling portions, reading labels, using various sweeteners, making wise carbohydrate choices, increasing fiber, choosing the right fats, and controlling high blood pressure. After participating in the four- week Right Bite Diabetes Cooking School, people with diabetes made the following improvements in their diets:

  • Salted foods at the table less
  • Ate more foods with 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving
  • Ate at least three veggies per day
  • Ate a nonstarchy veggie at lunch and dinner
  • Drank fewer sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Drank at least 8 glasses of water a day
  • Drank water before a meal to reduce hunger
  • Used hands to show portion size
  • Used canola, peanut, or olive oil in place of other oils
  • Used food label nutrition facts


Description. To support early care and education programs throughout Alabama, Extension agents take advantage of the online Go NAPSACC program and work with child care providers. The goal is to improve the health of young children through practices, policies, and environments that instill habits supporting lifelong health and well-being. Topics include (1) child nutrition, (2) breastfeeding and infant feeding, (3) farm to early care and education, (4) oral health, (5) infant and child physical activity, (6) outdoor play and learning, and (7) screen time. All agents are certified Go NAPSACC Consultants.

Availability: Zoom and Face-to-Face

2020 Impact: Pilot program coming in 2020–2021.


Description. The Sitting Safely initiative educates parents and caregivers on the proper use and installation of child safety seats. Information includes car seat inspections, installation guidance, helpful literature, and resources. Extension agents receive a National Child Passenger Safety Certification from
Safe Kids Worldwide.

Availability: Face-to-Face

2021 Impact: Pilot program implementation underway.


Download a PDF of Human Nutrition, Diet, and Health Impact Report 2019, FCS-2434.

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