Kentucky Extension battles opioid epidemic with healthy choices program
The opioid epidemic, which ravaged Kentucky counties, was only worsened by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is vital now more than ever to improve Kentuckians’ access to resources to initiate and sustain substance use recovery.
In response to this need, Kentucky’s Cooperative Extension Service created Healthy Choices for Your Recovering Body (HCYRB), a nutrition education program for limited-resource adults in substance use recovery. Developed by the University of Kentucky Extension Nutrition Education Program, in partnership with family and consumer sciences specialists, HCYRB teaches recovery-focused nutrition concepts, food preparation and food safety skills, food resource management and physical activity. These skills are critical for clients in recovery to function independently and make healthy food choices to achieve greater health during and after recovery.
A total of 383 adults (62% female and 38% male) across 20 counties participated in HCYRB between 2021 and 2022. Evaluation results showed a 17% increase in participants understanding the importance of nutrition in their recovery and an 11% increase in them understanding the importance of physical activity in their recovery. The results also showed significant changes in nutrition and physical activity behaviors. Physical activity (for at least 30 minutes a day) increased by 35%; soda and energy drink consumption reduced by 25% and 6%, respectively; and water consumption increased by 30%. After participating in the program, 96% intend to choose healthy snacks and eat more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Participants also reported a 36% increase in food safety knowledge, 20% increase in food resource management self-efficacy, 16% increase in confidence to make diet behavior changes and 14% increase in cooking self-efficacy.
Link to full statement on website: http://landgrantimpacts.tamu.edu/impacts/show/6108