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The present store-based intervention was designed to promote sales of fruits and vegetables (F&V) to increase intake among store customers – specifically customers of tiendas, small-to-medium-sized Latino food stores.
Four tiendas were randomized to a 2-month environmental change intervention or a delayed treatment control condition. Employees and managers were trained to promote F&V sales, including how to implement a food marketing campaign and installing store equipment to promote fresh fruits and vegetables. The primary outcome was self-reported daily intake of F&V among a convenience sample of customers (at least forty per store) collected at baseline prior to randomization and then 4 months later. In addition, changes in availability of F&V in the tiendas, using unobtrusive observational methods, provided evidence of intervention fidelity.
Tiendas in central North Carolina.
Participants included 179 customers who were recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America.
A group-by-time interaction approached significance on daily servings of F&V; intervention customers reported an increase in F&V intake over time and as a function of the intervention (P ≤ 0·06). Unexpectedly, self-efficacy for consuming more fruits (P ≤ 0·01) and more vegetables (P ≤ 0·06) decreased. In our store-level analyses, a group-by-time interaction was observed for availability of fresh and canned vegetables; the intervention increased availability of vegetables but not fruit.
Environmental change strategies to promote healthy eating are needed given the rates of obesity and diabetes in the Latino population. A store-based intervention was moderately effective at increasing customers’ reported F&V intake. Such strategies can have a public health impact on underserved populations.
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