Extension Welcomes New Program Assistant

— Written By Renee Diggs-Neal and last updated by Penny McCartney

By: Renee Diggs-Neal

Adult Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Assistant

N.C. Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center

As I arrived at Robeson County Cooperative Extension on January 7, 2013,in big letters the marquis read “Welcome Renee Diggs-Neal, New Adult EFNEP Program Assistant”. What a great welcome and pleasant surprise for this new resident and employee of Robeson County!

Now you are probably asking yourself what is “EFNEP”? Great question! I’m glad you asked. EFNEP is short for Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. EFNEP is a program that helps adult participants and their families learn new skills and strategies in relation to food and nutrition. Adults are given real world tools so they can change their behavior to eat smart and move more on a limited budget. The program is designed to help improve overall health and increase quality of life.

Did you know North Carolina is on a mission to become one of the healthiest states in the nation? According to the “Healthy North Carolina 2020: A Better State of Health”, one reason for the change is because North Carolina currently ranks 33rd in the United States in terms of health. Although we have moved up since the 1990s, the goal is to place North Carolina closer to the top of this ranking. Being closer to the top of this ranking directly benefits you and your family with lower insurance rates and more years on your life.

When I accepted the position as Robeson County Cooperative Extension Adult EFNEP Assistant, I adopted this mission with the belief and passion that all mankind can experience good health through their food and beverage intake and increasing their physical activity. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the people in Robeson County. My background is in education, having served as a Family and Consumer Science teacher. Currently, I am a candidate for a Masters degree in Public Health, which I’m excited to complete this fall.

I hope to use my prior experience to serve this community’s mission to be in “a better state of health” by eating smart and moving more. My goal is to encourage you and myself to become healthier together. As we strive toward this better state of health, keep in mind North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s two objectives for adults concerning physical activity and foods and nutrition. The first is to increase adult’s physical activity; the second is for adults to consume five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Regular physical activity and good nutrition are vital factors in achieving a healthy body weight and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Other benefits include strengthening bones, muscles, and improving mental health.

Let’s get started Robeson County! If you are someone who works with limited-resource audiences, or you are on a limited budget with school-age children and would like to be a part of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, please contact me.

For more information about the Adult EFNEP program, please contact Renee Diggs-Neal, Adult Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Assistant with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at Renee_Diggs-Neal@ncsu.edu or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu.