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About 184,000 low-income families participated in the Extension Service's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) prior to October 1969. A national sample of 10,500 showed that family incomes were very low--less than $2,700, of which more than a third was spent for food. Families with annual incomes of less than $1,200 per year spent nearly one-half for food. Most families were urban, members of minority groups, and had homemakers with relatively low educational levels. Food consumption practices of homemakers upon entering the program indicated that many families had poor diets. Foods in the milk and fruit/vegetable groups were most often lacking in diets. Homemakers with poorest diets tended to be urban, on welfare, poorly educated, and have low-family incomes and food expenditures. After 6 months of EFNEP participation substantial improvements in food knowledge and consumption practices were evident, particularly in the consumption of foods in the milk and fruit/vegetable groups. Homemakers with the poorest diets showed more improvement than those who had better initial food consumption practices. Homemakers receiving more visits from program personnel, a measure of intensity of program instruction, increased their consumption of foods in the milk and fruit/vegetable groups more than homemakers receiving fewer visits.


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