November 15, 2017
University of New England faculty member Michele Polacsek, Ph.D., M.H.S., professor of Public Health in the Westbrook College of Health Professions, is lead author on a newly published article in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior titled, “A Supermarket Double-Dollar Incentive Program Increases Purchases of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables among Low Income Families with Children: The Healthy Double Study.”
The study’s aim was to determine whether a supermarket double-dollar fruit and vegetable (F&V) incentive increases F&V purchases among low-income families. The study used a randomized controlled design. Participants included a total of 401 low-income and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) supermarket customers. The study found that weekly F&V spending increased in the intervention arm compared with control ($1.83; 95% confidence interval [CI], $0.29 to $3.88).
The largest increase was for fresh F&V ($1.97; 95% CI, $0.49 to $3.44). Secondary analyses revealed greater increases in F&V spending among SNAP-eligible participants who redeemed coupons ($5.14; 95% CI, $1.93 to $8.34) than among non–SNAP eligible participants who redeemed coupons ($3.88; 95% CI, $1.67 to $6.08). Customers who were eligible for SNAP saw the greatest F&V spending increases. The authors conclude that financial incentives for F&V are an effective strategy for food assistance programs to increase healthy purchases and improve dietary intake in low-income families.
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