October 2004, Vol. 9, No. 2
ISSN 1540 5273

Extension Biotechnology Education: Impact on Consumer Education

Carolyn A. Raab, Patricia E. Case, and Nancy L. Kershaw


Extension faculty developed a biotechnology lesson for statewide use by Family Community Education groups. The evaluation showed that 476 participants in 12 counties had increased their knowledge/awareness of the pros and cons of biotechnology, foods produced using this technology, regulatory safeguards, and biotechnology legislation. A sub-sample of 61 older women completed a follow-up evaluation after the November 2002 election, which included a ballot measure on labeling genetically engineered food. Of the 93 percent of respondents who had voted, 30 percent favored labeling, 59 percent were against, and 11 percent did not reveal their vote. Forty-two percent indicated that the lesson had influenced how they voted. If the ballot measure had passed, 30 percent would have been “very likely” to purchase food labeled “modified by genetic engineering;” 33 percent reported “somewhat likely.” Full Text…

Energy Conservation Tips for Individuals and Families

Vann, J., Ahmadi, R., and Friesen, C.


Conservation of energy reduces stress on the energy generation and distribution system, saves consumers money, and reduces toxic air pollutants and the depletion of non-renewable resources, thus improving the quality of life in the present and enhancing the availability of resources into the future. The recent East Coast “black out” has forced people to think about the impact of their usage — or over-usage — of electricity on their lives. Extension Specialists are equipped to teach consumers how to select the most energy efficient systems and, to the limits imposed by the systems, how to operate the systems using the most energy-efficient behaviors possible. This paper outlines six dimensions of individuals’ lives where energy consumption can be reduced through better system choices and more energy-efficient behaviors. By teaching people to select energy-efficient systems and to adopt energy-conserving behaviors, Extension Specialists will have taken yet another step toward ensuring our future. Full Text…

Finding Whole Grains and Calcium Rich Food Sources on Supermarket Shelves

Heidi Montgomery, M.S., Mary Schroeder, M.S., R.D., Ruth Inglis-Widrick, Laura Young, M.S., Garry W Auld, Ph.D., R.D. (corresponding author)


National food intake data has demonstrated that the typical American diet is lacking in whole grain and calcium rich food sources, both of which offer several health benefits. To help practitioners educate consumers on the availability of whole grain and calcium rich food sources, a study of food products offered at a traditional supermarket and a natural foods supermarket was conducted. Comparisons were made between the nutritional quality of whole and non-whole grain items as well as traditional and alternative dairy products. The proportion of whole grain items available to consumers in most food categories that account for a substantial portion of the diet was strikingly limited. The majority of whole grains were wheat- or oat-based. As a result of volunteer fortification, a wide variety of calcium-containing food products are available to consumers. Yet, consumers must be advised that alternative calcium sources may not be nutritionally comparable to traditional dairy products. Full Text…

Making an Informed Decision about Long-term Care Insurance: A Teleconference Seminar to Help Consumers

Paul E. McNamara, Kathryn L. Sweedler, Katherine J. Reuter, Mary Ann Fugate


To help consumers make informed decisions about long-term care insurance, University of Illinois Extension developed an educational program that combines written materials and an interactive teleconference seminar. Evaluation data from the program over the last three years indicate that consumers find information from the program very helpful in their decision-making process. At the conclusion of the seminar, more than 40 percent of respondents planned to do more research about long-term care insurance options. Forty-four percent of respondents said they were ready to make a decision about whether they should purchase long-term care insurance. More than 90 percent of respondents felt the seminar would be useful to them personally. Overall, the teleconference seminars have proven to be a successful method of providing information to consumers about long-term care insurance. Full Text…

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High.

Reviewed by Susan Scherffius Jakes, Ph.D. Full Text…

Serving the Elderly Client and Family

Margeret Matheis, Ph.D. Full Text…



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