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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cost-benefit analysis conducted for nutrition education in California


Documenting the cost-effectiveness of nutrition education programs is important to justify and determine expenditures and ensure continued funding. A cost-benefit analysis was conducted using the program demographics and food-related dietary behavior of participants enrolled in California’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), based on methodology developed by Virginia Cooperative Extension. The initial benefit-cost ratio for nutrition education in California was 14.67 to 1.00. Several sensitivity analyses were done to estimate the effect of changes in key variables. The resulting benefit-cost ratios ranged from 3.67 to 1.00, to 8.34 to 1.00, meaning that for every $1.00 spent on nutrition education in California, between $3.67 and $8.34 is saved in health care costs. These results bolster the argument that nutrition education programs are a good investment and funding them is sound public policy.

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