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Accelerating Evaluation of Financial Incentives for Fruits and Vegetables: A Case for Shared Measures.

Abstract

Food insecurity, or lack of consistent access to enough food, is associated with low intakes of fruits and vegetables (FVs) and higher risk of chronic diseases and disproportionately affects populations with low income. Financial incentives for FVs are supported by the 2018 Farm Bill and United States (U.S.) Department of Agriculture's Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) and aim to increase dietary quality and food security among households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and with low income. Currently, there is no shared evaluation model for the hundreds of financial incentive projects across the U.S. Despite the fact that a majority of these projects are federally funded and united as a cohort of grantees through GusNIP, it is unclear which models and attributes have the greatest public health impact. We explore the evaluation of financial incentives in the U.S. to demonstrate the need for shared measurement in the future. We describe the process of the GusNIP NTAE, a federally supported initiative, to identify and develop shared measurement to be able to determine the potential impact of financial incentives in the U.S. This commentary discusses the rationale, considerations, and next steps for establishing shared evaluation measures for financial incentives for FVs, to accelerate our understanding of impact, and support evidence-based policymaking.

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