Since 1969, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) has employed staff to help influence nutrition and physical activity behaviors of low-income families, primarily those with young children. EFNEP has directly impacted economic, obesity, and food insecurity challenges that cause difficulty with the health and well being of this nation. Colorado State University’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition has partnered with Washington State University and Baylor University to find a way to teach parents how much food they should be putting on their children’s plates. “One issue we have in the United States is parents are putting too much food on their children’s plates,” said Dwayne Watson, Office Manager in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University.
Watson’s role in this educational experiment is taking the idea and creating something that will help represent it. “We went into this with no clue as to what we wanted,” said Watson. They started with generic shapes like a square and a cylinder. “We thought about a mound of mashed potatoes and tried a shape like that and then we moved to a circular shape then someone mentioned an egg shape.” They wanted this object to be fun since it is representing child’s portions. Four different colors were used when 3D printing the eggs, each color representing a different type of food. The colors are used by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to represent a section of MyPlate. The color red represents fruit, green for vegetables, brown for grains, and purple for protein. The I2P lab is in process of printing 160 more eggs for the project.
Training for the educators on this project began January 11th in hopes for the trial to begin in August. The program will be held through a Colorado agency and is open to all low-income families. For more information on the program, visit EFNEP at Colorado State University’s website.