UNCG Research

Nutrition education for new North Carolinians – Murphy receives funding from DSS

Posted on Monday, November 5th, 2012 by UNCG Research.
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Arthur D. Murphy, Department Head, Anthropology

UNCG Research congratulates Dr. Arthur Murphy on receiving $96,938 from the NC DHHS Division of Social Services for his project, “Nutrition Education for New North Carolinians (NENNC)”. The “Recipe for Success in North Carolina” program enters its sixth year, having served over 7,000 low income households in Guilford County since its inception.

In FY2013, NENNC will continue its work in Guilford County, where 82 languages are spoken in the public schools and where many immigrantsand refugees work in poultry plants, furniture factories, and other low-wage positions.

Although some immigrants and refugees are able to access certain familiar foods in North Carolina, they must, of necessity, learn to eat “American” foods. A study released several years ago by the National Academy of Sciences demonstrated that the average immigrant was actually healthier than the average American upon arrival to our shores. Yet, within two or three years, their health declined to the same level as Americans. National Academy of Sciences researchers concluded that adoption of the standard American diet of fast foods, high in fat and low in fruits, vegetables, and fiber, played a major role. They therefore recommended more culturally appropriate nutrition education for immigrants and refugees.

Dr. Murphy’s project seeks to address this need by adapting existing nutrition education materials for North Carolina’s immigrant and refugee groups, particularly African immigrant and refugee groups in Guilford County. The project delivers educational programming on food quality, budgeting, and food safety to current food stamp recipients – and to immigrant and refugee groups in Guilford County who are eligible for food stamps.

A Nutrition Education for New North Carolinians event

Core program elements include dietary quality, shopping behavior, and food safety.  NENNC works to convey the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables, limiting portion sizes, physical activity, stretching food dollars so individuals won’t run out of food stamps, and the four c’s – cook, cool, avoid cross contamination, and clean.

The program provides instruction via direct mail from the Food Stamp Office of the Guilford County Department of Social Services and through the African Services Coalition and Guilford County Schools in conjunction with the UNCG Departments of Anthropology and Communication Studies*. In addition to instruction through mailed home study courses, each participant receives six total contact instruction hours in the form of on-site classroom activities.

Formative, process, and summative evaluations will measure project effectiveness. Formative evaluations will ascertain that materials are understandable and effective. Process evaluations will include progress toward attainment of goals, participant feedback, and instructor feedback. Summative evaluations will consist of pre-post tests that measure individuals’ self-reported behavior and knowledge before and after nutrition education intervention. Quarterly reports will be filed with the North Carolina Nutrition Network.


*A previous version of this article incorrectly listed the Department of Nutrition as a collaborator.