Limited research is available on whether participation in healthy food incentive programmes is associated with higher fruit and vegetable intake. The objective of the present study was to determine fruit and vegetable intake among participants in the Produce Plus Program, a farmers’ market-based healthy food incentive programme in Washington, DC, and identify demographic and behavioural factors associated with higher fruit and vegetable intake.
Using a cross-sectional survey, programme participants were interviewed at markets across DC between June and September 2015. Questions included the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) fruit and vegetable module. Fruit and vegetable intake among 2013 DC BRFSS participants reporting annual household incomes of ≤$US 35 000 was calculated for context.
Washington, DC, USA.
Participants (n 288) in the Produce Plus Program.
On average, participants reported consuming both fruits (interquartile range: 1·0–3·0) and vegetables (interquartile range: 1·3–3·5) two times/d. Participants who reported eating home-cooked meals ≥3 times/week also reported higher median fruit (2·0 v. 0·8) and vegetable (2·3 v. 1·3) intake compared with those eating home-cooked meals less frequently. No statistically significant differences in reported median fruit or vegetable intake were observed over the course of the farmers’ market (June v. August/September) season.
Produce Plus Program participants reported higher median fruit and vegetable intake compared with DC BRFSS respondents with similar incomes, but still below recommended levels. More frequent home-cooked meals were associated with higher fruit and vegetable intake. Thus, efforts to increase home cooking may represent an opportunity to increase fruit and vegetable intake among healthy food incentive participants.