McAsey AR, Rana P, Goschin Y, Sullivan Vedder L, Kram JJF, Klumph M, Shahlapour M, Knox K. Fruit and vegetable vouchers do not increase redemption or consumption. Poster presented at: Aurora Scientific Day; May 20, 2020; virtual webinar hosted in Milwaukee, WI.
Poster presented at: Aurora Scientific Day; May 20, 2020; virtual webinar hosted in Milwaukee, WI.
Background: It is well known that a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables improves health outcomes. In central Milwaukee, specifically the 53233 zip code area, there is a limited supply of vendors that sell fresh produce to its residents.
Purpose: To increase produce consumption among patients through a fruit and vegetable prescription (FnVRx) program.
Methods: In 2019, patients at 1 family medicine residency clinic in the 53233 zip code were recruited and assigned to one of two groups. The study group was given a packet of materials including 2 $20 prescription vouchers for fresh produce redeemable at the nearby (1.7 miles from clinic) Fondy Farmers Market, along with a verbal explanation of packet contents, while the control group was given the same packet but without verbal overview. Groups were assigned based on availability of study team member to discuss packet contents. Participants completed a baseline assessment at their initial visit; follow-up phone surveys were completed at 4 and 8 weeks post-office visit. Basic descriptive statistics were performed, and Fisher’s exact tests were used for 2×2 tables.
Results: Of the total participants (N=107), 71% met food insecurity criteria, 46% had an income of <$15,000, and 89% shared food with ≥2 family members. Participants were predominantly female (86%), African American (72%), and in the control group (77%). Overall, 71% never redeemed a FnVRx. Of those surveyed at 4 weeks postrecruitment, 31% of individuals and 19% of households recalled consuming more produce, as opposed to 19% of individuals and 16% of households who had recalled more produce consumption at 8 weeks. No statistical difference was associated with redemption of FnVRx in regard to gender, income level, prior use of farmers’ markets, groups, presence of food insecurity, or size of household (P>0.05 for all). However, increasing age was associated with FnVRx redemption (P=0.016). Overall, the most commonly cited reasons for not redeeming FnVRx were “too busy” or “forgot.”
Conclusion: The solution to increasing fresh produce consumption is multifactorial. The answer is not as simple as providing individuals with monetary-based prescriptions for farmers’ markets. Many barriers likely prevent increased produce consumption (eg, time, motivation, transportation, cultural preferences, distance to farmers’ markets, and education). Despite low redemption rates, this project identified a need for food resources for our patients and further development of interventions to meet those needs.