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The Northeast Regional Nutrition Education Center of Excellence (NE-RNECE) at Cornell University aims to expand the evidence base that supports effective nutrition education delivered in conjunction with policy, systems, and environmental approaches that make healthy food and physical activity choices easier in order to help prevent obesity among low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) participants.

The dramatic increase in obesity rates among the US population presents a significant health challenge to the nation. Chronic diseases linked to overweight, obesity and inactivity such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, threaten our health care delivery and payment systems, and the longevity of our young people.

Although programs such as the EFNEP and SNAP-Ed have successfully delivered nutrition education and demonstrated positive changes in food behavior among participants, there is a growing recognition that tackling the obesity epidemic requires going beyond individual knowledge and behavior change to make the places people live, work and play more conducive to health. Yet there is a dearth of evidence about what works, for whom, and how.

One of 5 sites nationally, the center brings together researchers, extension leaders, and community partners to address these challenges. The center is led by a steering committee with regional representation that includes program implementers and researchers. The center’s key initiatives are a signature research program, nationwide training, and a systematic review.

The center was established in 2014 with funding from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Food and Nutrition Service as part of a national initiative to improve the health of low-income Americans.


United States Department of Agriculture

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

This work is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the USDA.

RNECE: Regional Nutrition Education Centers of Excellence