A Food Prescription Program Promotes Produce Intake and Decreases Food Insecurity

Jennifer N Aiyer, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Introduction: North Pasadena, Texas has both a high prevalence of food insecurity, and high levels of childhood and adult obesity. Food insecurity is associated with limited food resources that may lead to poor nutritional intake, thereby exacerbating diet related chronic disease. The aim of this study is to examine the feasibility of a pilot food prescription program that provides healthy fresh and non-perishable food to improve produce intake while reducing food insecurity. Study Design: One-group pre-post evaluation design Setting/participants: Adult participants over the age of 18 were recruited from four clinics, including one Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and two school based clinics in three north Pasadena zip codes. A clinic screener included a two-question food insecurity assessment. Intervention: Conducted from September 2016 to May 2017, process surveys and data collected included program dosage, reach, fidelity and acceptability. Key informant interviews were conducted with implementation staff and program participants. Main outcome measures: Stata software was used for data analysis; summary statistics were reported and unpaired t-test was used to determine change in the prevalence of food security. Nvivo software was used to analyze interviews. Results: Participants (n=174) in the program experienced a 91.5% decrease in the prevalence of food insecurity (p<0.01). An average of 29.6 pounds of fruits and vegetables were distributed per family, per distribution, and 99% of participants ate “all/most” of the food provided. The perceived helpfulness of fruits and vegetables to influence intake was 94.5% and 90.6%, respectively, and 65% reported that the nutrition education was helpful. Interviews revealed that providers and participants felt the program was successful and were satisfied overall, however communication among provider partners had challenges. Conclusions: Our pilot study demonstrates that through well-coordinated community health care and food provider partnerships, a food prescription program may be a feasible way to improve produce intake and reduce food insecurity.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Aiyer, Jennifer N, "A Food Prescription Program Promotes Produce Intake and Decreases Food Insecurity" (2018). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10790768.