Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Betsy Haughton

Committee Members

Paula Zemel, Carol Costello, Robert J. Pursley


Data on the economic value of nutrition education programs, such as the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), can help decision makers choose between alternative programs based on costs and benefits. A cost-benefit analysis of EFNEP was conducted to determine if savings in food expenditures exceeded implementation costs. Costs were collected over a 6-months using expenditure reports and other records. Benefits were determined using prospective data from 371 females enrolled in EFNEP who completed a 24-hour food recall, behavior survey, and recorded the amount of money spent on food monthly at program entry and exit. Two treatment groups received nutrition education and one group did not receive education. One treatment group estimated food expenditures from recall and the other collected register receipts or recorded expenditures. Control group subjects reported expenditures from recall. Net present value (NPV) was calculated using cost per participant subtracted from the change in food expenditures per participant over a 5-year period at a discount rate of 7%. NPV of EFNEP was $600.52, i.e., food expenditures were reduced by $600.52 over a 5-year period. At the same time individuals reduced food expenditures, they increased intakes of iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fiber. They added less salt when cooking and more often read nutrition labels. They also reported less often running out of food at the end of the month. Findings from this research showed that EFNEP is cost-beneficial. The magnitude of the savings in food expenditures varies with how long participants retain behaviors they learned and by the rate at which future benefits are discounted.

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