Can matching benefits at farmers markets in low-income neighborhoods impact health behaviors?
Title: Can matching benefits at farmers markets in low-income neighborhoods impact health behaviors? Introduction: Farmers markets are an ideal place for health promotion and a suggested strategy for increasing healthy food access in underserved neighborhoods. Matching incentives programs draw low-income users who are at higher risk for many diet-related diseases. This study aimed to examine health-related outcomes of shoppers receiving matching federal benefits at a new market in a low-income community as compared to those of shoppers at a low income market without matching benefits. Methods: Over a four-week period during summer 2012, individuals using EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) were recruited at a market that offered matching food assistance benefits (MB) (n=55) and a similar urban market that offered only EBT (n=20). Participants who consented completed a short baseline survey that included questions about food access and health related behaviors. At post-3 monts follow-up surveys were given over the phone. T-tests and Chi-square tests were used to compare post-only data from each market. Results: Socio-demographics were similar at both markets. At follow-up, significantly more shoppers at the MB market shopped always or very often at the market (35%) compared to the EBT-only market (0%). Significantly more shoppers at the MB market (90%) said they cook meals at home 5-7 times per week, compared to 75% at the EBT only market. Participants reported eating 2.1 cups of vegetables daily on follow up at the MB market, vs. participants who reported eating 1.6 cups vegetables daily at the EBT only market. Conclusions: Farmers markets that offer matching federal benefits can potentially be more effective in changing health-related behaviors than markets that do not offer matching benefits. This study adds to the limited knowledge we have about the health impact of matching incentive programs in low-income neighorhoods.
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences
Explain benefits to shoppers and farmers markets offering a matching benefits program in a low-income neighborhood.
Keyword(s): Access, Food and Nutrition
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