Objectives: Intake of fruits and vegetables protects against several common chronic diseases, and low income is associated with lower intake. We tested the effectiveness of a subsidy for fruits and vegetables to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
Methods: Women who enrolled for postpartum services (n=602) at 3 WIC sites in Los Angeles were assigned to an intervention (farmers' market or supermarket, both with redeemable food vouchers) or control condition (a minimal nonfood incentive). Interventions were carried out for 6 months, and participants' diets were followed for an additional 6 months.
Results: Intervention participants increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables and sustained the increase 6 months after the intervention was terminated (model adjusted R(2)=.13, P<.001). Farmers' market participants showed an increase of 1.4 servings per 4186 kJ (1000 kcal) of consumed food (P<.001) from baseline to the end of intervention compared with controls, and supermarket participants showed an increase of 0.8 servings per 4186 kJ (P=.02).
Conclusions: Participants valued fresh fruits and vegetables, and adding them to the WIC food packages will result in increased fruit and vegetable consumption.