Community and Public Health Nutrition
Community- and clinic-based fruit and vegetable “prescription” (FVRx) programs, which include nutrition education and subsidies to reduce the cost of fruits and vegetables have improved dietary intake and some clinical outcomes, such as hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and blood pressure. However, few if any studies have investigated the impact of an FVRx program in a worksite setting. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a worksite FVRx program on diet quality, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, blood lipid concentrations, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), and blood pressure.
In the first of two planned cohorts, we randomized healthy adults employed at a community hospital in southern Connecticut to receive either the FVRx program for 10 weeks (n=20) or standard worksite wellness offerings (n=20). Each week, intervention participants received a 45-minute cooking and nutrition education session held during the workday and a voucher valuing $15-25, depending on household size, that could be redeemed for fruit and vegetable purchases at a local grocery store. Outcome measures were assessed at baseline and at the end of the intervention.
Results : Compared to the control group, participants in the FVRx group significantly increased their HEI-2010 score for vegetable intake (0.91 ± 1.41 vs. 0.02 ± 1.18, p < 0.05) and reduced their HE-2010 score for empty calories (-4.61 ± 4.82 vs. -0.75 ± 3.20, p < 0.01). There were no between-group differences in other HEI-2010 components, body composition, HbA1c blood lipids, or blood pressure. However, the FVRx group did improve their overall HEI-2010 score from baseline (7.85 ± 10.82, p < 0.05) whereas the control group did not (3.57 ± 9.51, p > 0.05).
In this interim analysis, we demonstrated potential benefits of a worksite FVRx program on intake of vegetables and empty calories. Changes in anthropometric or biochemical measures were not observed immediately post-intervention, but this may be due to enrollment of a low-risk population or length of time needed to influence those measures. That the intervention nevertheless improved dietary intake suggests that it may be valuable for prevention of diet-related disease in healthy adults.
Funding Sources :
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Prevention Research Centers Program grant.