A cooperative effort between Surry Community College’s English as a Second Language program and the NC Cooperative Extension Service hopes to combat rising numbers of diabetes and obesity problems from diet.
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) entered its second week of instruction this week. According to N.C. Extension Agent Carmen Long Surry County was one of a select few counties in the state chosen to participate in the program. She said the area’s track record of already extending nutritional education programs to the local Latino community was an important reason Surry was chosen.
SNAP is composed of a five-part series. The Better Food Better Health classes include an emphasis on families getting healthy together, the importance of exercise, using less sugar in foods, making dishes at home from scratch and controlling weight. Long said that the effort is aimed at decreasing the risk of diabetes due to unhealthy diet choices. She said that studies have shown that being overweight also elevates the risk of diabetes.
She added that one of the strategies taught students in the course is to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables eaten and making at least half of their grains eaten whole grains.
“Participants got to sample foods that were made from whole grain flour,” explained Long. “They were surprised at how good the items were. This also was a opportunity for them to learn label reading to make better decisions.”
Long said that “portion distortion” or serving sizes would be stressed as an effective strategy for weight control. She said it is not sometimes what is eaten but how much. The last lesson in the course is Our Family Health Comes First and will seek to have participants focus on health care for the entire family.
“We want to make sure families with limited resources will be able to have the information to make healthy selections with the food dollars they possess.”
Surveys and data collected in the last class will be used to improve the curriculum that will be taught across the state. Long said that response from participants has been positive to being given a chance to learn.
“This group has been a pleasure to work with. Our bi-lingual facilitators have helped make this program more successful. We’ve pleased this group wants to learn everything and make life better for their families,” said Long. “We’re proud to have been selected and it is good to be a part of this program. All the materials can be used with other projects in Surry County
This is the second year of the Armfield Grant driven ESL Preschool Program “Global Discoveries” at the old Jones School that seeks to give the children of ESL students a free bilingual education.
Nicole Grey is the teacher for the preschool and Jeanette Jordan serves as first assistant. The effort is a collaboration with SCC’s adult education program. According to information supplied by the program, students also receive a nutritional snack every morning and a full, balanced lunch with fruit and milk every day.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.