Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (FV) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the cost of FV is a barrier to consumption for many New Yorkers. From 2017-2021, the New York City (NYC) Department of Health's Pharmacy to Farm Prescriptions program provided coupons redeemable for FV at farmers markets to New Yorkers with hypertension and SNAP benefits.
To assess changes in FV consumption and farmers markets shopping behaviors.
Study Design, Setting, Participants
Eligible participants were recruited at 19 participating NYC pharmacies. Participants received monthly prescriptions to purchase $30 worth of fresh FV from NYC farmers markets. At enrollment and each subsequent visit to the pharmacy for a prescription, participants were encouraged to complete a self-administered survey about FV consumption and farmers market shopping behaviors.
Total daily servings of FV were calculated and compared at enrollment and at the last completed survey using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. McNemar tests were used to compare changes in shopping behaviors.
A total of 1,019 participants (59% Hispanic, 18% Black, 11% Asian 8% White, and 4% Other race) completed at least one follow-up survey with responses for all FV consumption questions. The median time from enrollment to last survey was 264 days (range, 20-1,383 days). Daily FV consumption remained unchanged from enrollment to last survey (median change: -0.03 servings, IQR: -1.01-1.00 servings, P = 0.767). The percent of participants that reported shopping at farmers markets at least once a month increased (83% at last survey vs. 33% at enrollment, P = <0.001). Most participants (81%) reported buying more FV at farmers markets since joining the program.
Among participants, there was a significant increase in shopping frequency and FV purchases at farmers markets. However, this did not translate to increases in reported FV consumption. More research is needed to assess the long-term impacts and sustainability of produce prescription programs.
Supplementary data related to this article can be found at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2022.04.100.
Appendix. SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
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