Fighting obesity and improving nutrition in Michigan communities

The Issue
Like most of America, Michigan faces the dual and interrelated challenges of hunger and obesity.
  • Michigan has the 16th highest rate of obesity in the United States with a little more than 31 percent of adults considered obese and another 35 percent considered overweight.
  • Only about 15 percent of adults eat enough fruit and vegetables every day. About 37 percent of adults eat fruit less than once a day and about 25 percent eat vegetables less than once a day. Just under 40 percent of adolescents eat fruit less than once a day and about 38 percent of adolescents eat vegetables less than once a day.
  • 80 percent of adults don’t meet aerobic and muscle strengthening activity guidelines.
MSU Exgtension Action
MSU Extension delivers affordable, relevant, evidence-based education to help adults, young people and families in urban and rural communities be healthy. Programs focus on helping participants gain the skills they need to buy and prepare nutritious, budget-friendly foods; increase their physical activity; breastfeed their babies; and stretch their food dollars.
In 2016, MSU Extension programs in these areas reached more than 119,000 adults and young people at nearly 1,500 sites across the state. A sampling of evaluation data from our programs follows.
Key Programs

Key programs in MSU Extension efforts to fight obesity and improve the nutrition choices of Michigan residents include:

  • Cooking Matters
  • Show Me Nutrition for Children
  • Eat Healthy, Be Active for Adults
  • Nutrition Environment Assessments
The Impact

Young People

Youth participants from kindergarten through 12th grade reported that as a result of these programs:
  • 79 percent improved their abilities or gained knowledge about how to choose foods following the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • 38 percent improved their physical activity practices or gained knowledge about such practices.
  • 44 percent used or gained knowledge about safe food handling practices.
  • 42 percent improved their ability or gained knowledge about how to prepare simple, nutritious, affordable food.


Adult participants reported that as a report of these programs:

  • 80 percent made a positive change in at least one nutrition practice, such as preparing foods without adding salt, or using Nutrition Facts labels to make food choices.
  • 74 percent made a positive change in at least one food resource management practice, such as planning meals in advance or comparing prices when shopping.
  • 47 percent made a positive change in at least one food safety practice, such as not allowing meat and dairy foods to sit out for more than two hours.
  • 36 percent increased their consumption of fruits.
  • 34 percent increased their consumption of vegetables.
  • 27 percent increased their physical activity.
  • 39 percent more often planned meals in advance.
  • 45 percent more often used Nutrition Facts labels.
  • 38 percent thawed foods at room temperature less often.
  • 34 percent more often compared prices when shopping.
  • 34 percent more often used a grocery list when shopping.

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