Online Program

Evaluating Use of a Healthy Food Incentive Program among Low-Income Health Center Patients

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Alicia Cohen, MD, Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Caroline Richardson, MD, Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Rachel Bair, MS, MPH, Fair Food Network, Ann Arbor, MI
Oran Hesterman, PhD, Fair Food Network, Ann Arbor, MI
Suzanna Zick, ND, MPH, Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Introduction: SNAP incentive programs—which match SNAP benefits spent on fruits and vegetables—facilitate produce consumption, but many eligible families do not take advantage of these programs. Little is known about how to increase program use. We examined the effect of providing a brief informational intervention about Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB)—a Michigan-wide SNAP incentive program—on (1) program utilization and (2) fruit and vegetable consumption.

Methods: Mixed-methods feasibility pilot.  177 SNAP-enrolled adult patients were recruited from a health center in a medically underserved area of Southeast Michigan to receive information about DUFB.  Participants were surveyed four times over six months about program utilization and purchase and consumption patterns.  DUFB use was verified through tracked transaction data.  Primary outcomes were rates of DUFB utilization and barriers/facilitators to program use.  Secondary outcomes included predictors of DUFB utilization and changes in produce consumption.

Results: 78% of participants completed all four surveys. At baseline, 18% of participants had heard of or previously used DUFB.  Preliminary results show at 6 month follow-up, 64% of participants had used DUFB at least one time. Analysis of longitudinal utilization patterns, changes in produce consumption, and barriers/facilitators to program use will be presented.

Discussion: Among low-income patients at this health center, lack of awareness of an available SNAP incentive program is a significant barrier to program use. Educating eligible patients about DUFB is a low-cost intervention that may increase patient access to fruits and vegetables.  Final analyses will provide information on additional barriers to program use that may need to be addressed.  

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the impact of providing education about a SNAP incentive program on rates of program use among low-income patients at a community health center. Identify barriers and facilitators to incentive program utilization.

Keyword(s): Food Security, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-investigator on several foundation funded grants focusing on issues of food insecurity, nutrition, and diet-related disease. My specific research interests have focused on development and evaluation of community-based strategies for increasing healthy food access in underserved communities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.