The mission of the Nutrition Education Program (NEP) is to provide individuals, families, and communities with the knowledge and skills to manage their food resources effectively and enjoy healthy foods, and physical activities for longer and more fulfilling lives. Healthy lifestyles help children grow to their potential, reduce risks of obesity, chronic disease, foodborne illness, and build vital, productive communities.
NEP works toward this mission by helping families apply the principles of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid in their daily lives. Our audiences include low-income families with children, pregnant and parenting teens, youth, and the elderly, most of whom we reach through a strong network of community collaborators across the state. We also serve professionals in community agencies, and food handlers in such settings as school food service programs, food pantries, homeless shelters, small food processors and producers, community-based group homes, and senior meal sites.
NEP includes three research-based programs:
- the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), which provides nutrition education to low-income families with young children;
- the Family Nutrition Program (FNP), which provides nutrition education to adults and youth either receiving or eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
- the Food Safety Education Program, which prevents the risk of foodborne illness in Massachusetts through educational programs that address the control of foodborne pathogens throughout the food chain from farm to table.
As part of the UMass School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Department of Nutrition, NEP also extends the resources of the university to Massachusetts’ citizens. We offer online courses, provide valuable experiences to students, and engage communities in applied research that helps them meet their needs. Through our talented and dedicated staff, creative education and outreach, and valued partnerships, NEP has developed programs and materials that have received state, regional, and national awards.