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Health Promotion Perspectives
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Article History
Submitted: 13 Aug 2015
Accepted: 02 Mar 2016
First published online: 31 Mar 2016

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Health Promot Perspect. 2016;6(1):10-16 doi: 10.15171/hpp.2016.02
PMID:27123431        PMCID:PMC4847109

Healthy Foods, Healthy Families: combining incentives and exposure interventions at urban farmers’ markets to improve nutrition among recipients of US federal food assistance

Original Article

April B. Bowling 1 * , Mikayla Moretti 2, Kayla Ringelheim 2, Alvin Tran 1, Kirsten Davison 1

1 Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
2 Farm Fresh Rhode Island, 1005 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860, USA



Abstract

Background: Healthy Foods, Healthy Families (HFHF) is a fruit and vegetable (F&V) exposure/incentive program implemented at farmers’ markets in low-income neighborhoods, targeting families receiving US federal food assistance. We examined program effects on participants’ diet and associations between attendance, demographics and dietary change.

Methods: Exposure activities included F&V tastings and cooking demonstrations. Incentives included 40% F&V bonus for electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card users and $20 for use purchasing F&V at every third market visit. Self-report surveys measuring nutritional behaviors/literacy were administered to participants upon enrollment (n = 425, 46.2% Hispanic, 94.8%female). Participants were sampled for follow-up at markets during mid-season (n = 186) and at season end (n = 146). Attendance was tracked over 16 weeks.

Results: Participants post-intervention reported significantly higher vegetable consumption(P = 0.005) and lower soda consumption (P = 0.005). Participants reporting largest F&V increases attended the market 6-8 times and received $40 in incentives. No change in food assistance spent on F&V (P = 0.94); 70% reported significant increases in family consumption of F&V,indicating subsidies increased overall F&V purchasing. Participants reported exposure activities and incentives similarly affected program attendance.

Conclusion: Interventions combining exposure activities and modest financial incentives at farmers’ markets in low-income neighborhoods show strong potential to improve diet quality of families receiving federal food assistance.




Notes
Citation: Bowling AB, Moretti M, Ringelheim K, Tran A, Davison K. Healthy Foods, Healthy Families: combining incentives and exposure interventions at urban farmers’ markets to improve nutrition among recipients of US federal food assistance. Health Promot Perspect. 2016;6(1):10-16. doi: 10.15171/hpp.2016.02.



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