Choices made by low-income women provided with an economic supplement for fresh fruit and vegetable purchase

J Am Diet Assoc. 2006 May;106(5):740-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2006.02.004.

Abstract

Vouchers for fresh fruit and vegetable purchase were provided to low-income women participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Los Angeles, CA. As the program is currently constituted, the supplemental foods provided contain no fresh produce except for carrots for exclusively breastfeeding women. This study investigated whether providing supplemental financial support specifically for purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables would result in high uptake of the supplement, and what the individuals would choose to purchase. A total of 602 women enrolling for postpartum services at three selected WIC program sites in Los Angeles were recruited. Sites were assigned to intervention with vouchers redeemable at a local supermarket, a nearby year-round farmers' market, and a control site with a minimal nonfood incentive. Vouchers were issued bimonthly, at the level of US $10/wk, and carried out for 6 months. Of 454 participants who completed the study (75.4%), 86% were Hispanic, 7% non-Hispanic black, and 7% of other ethnic backgrounds. Assessment of uptake was by voucher redemption rates and was approximately 90% for both groups. Participants reported purchasing a wide variety of items at both sites. The 10 most frequently mentioned items were oranges, apples, bananas, peaches, grapes, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, and potatoes. In conclusion, low-income women used the supplement provided almost fully, and purchased a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for their families. No particular barriers arose to redemption of the vouchers by either the participants or the retail vendors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diet / standards*
  • Female
  • Food Services / economics
  • Food Services / organization & administration*
  • Fruit*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Poverty*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Vegetables*