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Across Indiana, Adults Increased Knowledge of Food, Family, Money and Health

Indiana has room for improvement in many issues related to food, family, money and health. Indiana ranks 41st in overall health and consistently ranks among the worst states for obesity, smoking, and diabetes. Many risk factors for disability or death are preventable via improving eating habits and living an active lifestyle. On finances, Indiana ranks 11th for bankruptcy filings. By making smart choices, households are able to maximize financial resources.

Purdue Extension offers a variety of effective, engaging programs based on community needs to increase knowledge and improve behaviors related to food, family, money and health. During the year, 537 programs (in-person or virtual) were delivered for adults across Indiana. There were 4,833 adult participants in the health programming. Participants were primarily White, non-Hispanic women. There were 4,530 adults (93.7%) who responded on the statewide evaluation post-survey.

Data indicate significant increases in adult knowledge about diet quality, food safety, food selection/ preparation, environmental health, physical health, mental and emotional health, relationships/social health, aging process, parenting/caregiving skills, financial empowerment, and risk management. Adult participants (94%) reported they learned about food, family, money and/or health that would improve their life positively, and they (94%) indicated they would share the information learned with others. Adults reported they intended to engage in many healthy behaviors after completing programs. Asked to provide an example of how the program would make a difference in their lives, adults shared: 1) It made planning ahead for meals seem much less overwhelming and brought it to a realistic level. 2) This program is a good simulation of a cross-cultural experience that allows for meaningful conversation regarding cultural differences. 3) This program will help me have a better understanding of how my spending habits affect me in the future and how to manage them. 4) Understanding that I need to practice self-care. My physical and mental health suffer because I tend to take care of others and do not take time to care for myself. Results from the statewide evaluation tool indicated that Purdue Extension’s programs help adults strengthen families, spend smart, eat right, and live well.

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