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This study pilot-tested combining financial incentives to purchase fruits and vegetables with nutrition education focused on cooking to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables and improve attitudes around healthy eating on a budget among low-income adults. The goal of the pilot study was to examine implementation feasibility and fidelity, acceptability of the intervention components by participants and effectiveness.
The study design was a pre-post individual-level comparison without a control group. The pilot intervention included two components, a scan card providing free produce up to a weekly maximum dollar amount for use over a 2-month period, and two sessions of tailored nutrition and cooking education. Outcomes included self-reported attitudes about healthy eating and daily fruit and vegetable consumption from one 24-h dietary recall collected before and after the intervention.
Greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area in Minnesota.
Adults (n 120) were recruited from five community food pantries.
Findings indicated that the financial incentive component of the intervention was highly feasible and acceptable to participants, but attendance at the nutrition education sessions was moderate. Participants had a statistically significant increase in the consumption of fruit, from an average of 1·00 cup/d to 1·78 cups/d (P < 0·001), but no significant change in vegetable consumption or attitudes with respect to their ability to put together a healthy meal.
While combining financial incentives with nutrition education appears to be acceptable to low-income adult participants, barriers to attend nutrition education sessions need to be addressed in future research.
To examine level of participation and satisfaction with the Healthy Savings Program (HSP), a programme that provides price discounts on healthier foods.
For Study 1, a survey was distributed to a random sample of adults who were invited to participate in a version of the HSP that provided a discount for the purchase of fresh produce and discounts on other healthier foods. In Study 2, interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of adults invited to participate in a version of the HSP that provided price discounts on specific products only (no fresh produce discount).
The HSP is provided to all employer-based insurance plan members of a large health plan. Employers can choose to enhance the version of the HSP that their employees receive by paying for a weekly discount on fresh produce.
Employees in employer groups that received the enhanced HSP (Study 1) and employees in an employer group (Study 2) that received the standard HSP.
Among survey respondents in Study 1, 69·3 % reported using the HSP card. Most were satisfied with the fresh produce discount and ease of use of the HSP card. Satisfaction was lower for selection of participating stores, amounts of discounts and selection of discounted products. In Study 2, barriers to the use of the HSP card cited included the limited number of participating stores and the limited selection of discounted products.
Satisfaction with some elements of the HSP was high while other elements may need improvement to increase programme use.
Reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is a public health priority, yet finding an effective and acceptable policy intervention is challenging. One strategy is to use proportional pricing (a consistent price per fluid ounce) instead of the typical value-priced approach where large beverages offer better value. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate whether proportional pricing affects the purchasing of fountain beverages at a university cinema concession stand.
Four price strategies for beverages were evaluated over ten weekends of film screenings. We manipulated two factors: the price structure (value pricing v. proportional pricing) and the provision of information about the price per fluid ounce (labels v. no labels). The key outcomes were the number and size of beverages purchased. We analysed data using regression analyses, with standard errors clustered by film and controlling for the day and time of purchase.
A university cinema concession stand in Minnesota, USA, in spring 2015.
Over the study period (360 beverages purchased) there were no significant effects of the proportional pricing treatment. Pairing a label with the standard value pricing increased the likelihood of purchasing large drinks but the label did not affect purchasing when paired with proportional pricing.
Proportional prices did not significantly affect the size of beverages purchased by students at a university cinema, but adding a price-per-ounce label increased large drink purchases when drinks were value-priced. More work is needed to address whether pricing and labelling strategies might promote healthier beverage purchases.
Many jurisdictions in the USA and globally are considering raising the prices of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) through taxes as a strategy to reduce their consumption. The objective of the present study was to identify whether the rationale provided for an SSB price increase affects young adults’ behavioural intentions and attitudes towards SSB.
Participants were randomly assigned to receive one of eight SSB price increase rationales. Intentions to purchase SSB and attitudes about the product and policy were measured.
A forty-six-item cross-sectional Internet survey.
Undergraduate students (n 494) at a large US Midwestern university.
Rationale type was significantly associated with differences in participants’ purchasing intentions for the full sample (F7,485=2·53, P=0·014). Presenting the rationale for an SSB price increase as a user fee, an effort to reduce obesity, a strategy to offset health-care costs or to protect children led to lower SSB purchasing intentions compared with a message with no rationale. Rationale type was also significantly associated with differences in perceptions of soda companies (F7,485=2·10, P=0·043); among low consumers of SSB, messages describing the price increase as a user fee or tax led to more negative perceptions of soda companies.
The rationale attached to an SSB price increase could influence consumers. However, these message effects may depend on individuals’ level of SSB consumption.
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