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Would convenient access to affordable fresh produce improve eating habits?
Date:11/4/2010

in Rhode Island. According to the Centers for Disease Control, from 2000 to 2009 the percentage of state residents who ate fruit two or more times per day decreased from about 43 percent to 37 percent and the percentage that ate vegetables three or more times per day decreased from about 29 percent to 26 percent.

Workplace produce-ivity

For the workplace study, Gans is looking to recruit 24 employers with at least 200 workers at a single site in either Rhode Island or surrounding communities in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Each company would participate for a year.

The participating workplaces will be assigned to one of three groups. Eight companies will get an onsite produce market, eight will get the produce market plus educational programs on healthy eating, and the remaining eight companies will receive health promotion and education programs on health topics other than healthy eating. After the first year, the companies in this group would then have the option to host a market.

In each case, about 100 employees will be asked to fill out surveys on their households' fruit and vegetable consumption and other related topics at the beginning of the year, midway through and at the end of the year. Employees will receive $20 for each survey they complete. Gans and her team will be measuring changes in fruit and vegetable consumption in each of the three groups.

While the health benefits for employees remain to be seen, the sheer convenience of being able to walk down the hall to a conference room to buy oranges or a head of lettuce should delight at least some workers. Because the vendor is a wholesaler, Gans says, the produce is fresher than what's in the supermarket and almost always less expensive. She said her team monitors prices weekly and beats all but the loss-leader prices in local markets.

For employers, Gans said, the program is a way of providing an employee health promotion and morale-boosti
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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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