Assess intake of fruits and vegetables during participation in The Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA, Philadelphia, PA) community-based medically tailored meal program for individuals with serious illness.
Use of Theory or Research
Meals provided by MANNA include levels of fruits and vegetables that follow evidence-based guidelines. There is a need to determine whether individuals receiving such meals do, in fact, consume the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables and corresponding nutrients.
The sample consists of individuals (n = 204) who received meals from MANNA from January through March of 2021. Individuals were contacted by phone to take a ten-question survey. The 204 individuals who completed the survey were 59% female with an average age of 61.7 years.
MANNA is a “Food is Medicine” program that provides 21 medically tailored meals/week to community members with serious illness. Individuals are offered nutrition counseling from a Registered Dietitian. The program is short-term, averaging 3-6 months. The goal is for individuals to achieve adequate nutritional status and be able to follow their prescribed diet independently.
The Block Fruit-Vegetable-Fiber Screener (NutritionQuest) was used for assessment of dietary intake. Daily servings of fruits and vegetables and intake of dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium were calculated using prediction equations provided by NutritionQuest.
Mean fruit and vegetable intake was 4.7 and 4.9 servings per day for females and males, respectively. Fiber intake was 12.5 g/day for females and 17.2 g/day for males. Intakes of vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium were 130.6, 300.0, and 2966.3 mg/day, respectively, for females and 151.6, 384.5, and 3643.0 mg/day, respectively, for males.
MANNA's medically tailored meal program supports recommended intakes of fruits and vegetables (5/day). Recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for vitamin C and potassium were also met. Magnesium intake was slightly below and fiber intake was significantly below the RDA. Adding menu items with more whole grains and legumes may help increase intake of magnesium and fiber.