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Ease of access improves fruit and vegetable consumption
Date:9/3/2013

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Sept. 3, 2013 Low-income communities have particular problems getting adequate fruits and vegetables because of limited access to supermarkets and farmers markets. A new study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center shows that community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs may be a feasible approach for providing fresh fruits and vegetables to under-resourced communities.

Lead author Sara A. Quandt, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology and prevention at Wake Forest Baptist, said that CSAs, which link consumers to a local farm's produce over a growing season, have been proposed as a solution for disparities in fruit and vegetable consumption, though evaluation of such efforts has been limited. The typical U.S. diet fails to meet daily recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption.

This CSA program, Farm Fresh Healthy Living of Forsyth County, N.C., was developed, administered, and evaluated by a partnership of university researchers, Experiment in Self Reliance Inc., a community nonprofit agency, and Harmony Ridge Farms, a Forsyth County, N.C., farm using organic practices.

"Expanding access to healthful foods is an important step in reducing health disparities," said Quandt. "The objective of this study was to test the feasibility of a CSA program for low-income families in Forsyth County."

The study appears last month in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

For a small randomized, controlled feasibility study, Quandt and fellow researchers recruited 50 low income women with children, then divided them into an intervention group and a control group of 25 each. The participants ranged in age from 24 to 60; most were African-American and unmarried.

Intervention participants received a free box of fresh produce for 16 weeks from May through August 2012. They were also offered five educational sessions, including cooking classes,
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Contact: Bonnie Davis
bdavis@wakehealth.edu
336-716-4977
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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