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Effect of a Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program on Children's Fruit and Vegetable Consumption.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.5888/pcd16.180555
IntroductionMost children in families with low income do not meet dietary guidance on fruit and vegetable consumption. Fruit and vegetable prescription programs improve access to and affordability of health-supporting foods for adults, but their effect on dietary behavior among children is not known. The objective of this study was to describe the extent to which exposure to a fruit and vegetable prescription program was associated with changes in consumption among participants aged 2 to 18.
MethodsWe used data from a modified National Cancer Institute screener to calculate fruit and vegetable intake among 883 children who were overweight or had obesity and participated in a 4- to 6-month fruit and vegetable prescription program at federally qualified health centers during 4 years (2012-2015). Secondary analyses in 2017 included paired t tests to compare change in fruit and vegetable consumption (cups/day) between first and last visits and multivariable linear regressions, including propensity dose-adjusted models, to model this change as a function of sociodemographic and program-specific covariates, such as number of clinical visits and value of prescription redemption.
ResultsWe found a dose propensity-adjusted increase of 0.32 cups (95% confidence interval, 0.19-0.45 cups) for each additional visit while holding constant the predicted number of visits and site. An equal portion of the change-score increase was attributed to vegetable consumption and fruit consumption (β = 0.16 for each).
ConclusionFruit and vegetable prescription programs in clinical settings may increase fruit and vegetable consumption among children in low-income households. Future research should use a comparison group and consider including qualitative analysis of site-specific barriers and facilitators to success.
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