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Impact of a Public-Private Mobile Market to Improve Fruit & Vegetable Access (NCT03026608)

University at Buffalo
The Green Car Evaluation was designed to test the impact of the Veggie Van mobile produce market on access to healthy food and fruit and vegetable intake in 12 lower-income communities using a cluster-randomized design.
  • : Veggie Van Program
    This includes 1.) Weekly delivery of fresh local produce; 2.) Cooking and nutrition demonstrations; 3.) Weekly newsletters about cooking, nutrition and local produce mailed to all study participants and distributed at Veggie Van
    Ages eligible for Study
    18 Years and older
    Genders eligible for Study
    Accepts Healthy Volunteers
    Inclusion Criteria:
    • Receives services or lives within one of the communities selected for the study
    • Main shopper for the household
    • Intends to use Veggie Van if it comes to their community
    Exclusion Criteria:
    • Under 18
    Lower-income and minority groups face significant health disparities with respect to obesity, cancer, heart disease and other chronic conditions. Poor diets, low in fruits and vegetables (F&V) and high in saturated fat, sodium and sugar, contribute to many of the health problems faced by vulnerable groups. While poverty, low-educational attainment and personal food preference are all associated with reduced F&V consumption, these individual-level factors must be viewed in an environmental context. Research has repeatedly demonstrated the important role that environment plays on health decisions and behaviors. Compared with higher-income neighborhoods, lower-income and minority neighborhoods are less likely to have a supermarket that sells a variety of F&V and other healthy foods. This is perpetuated by an underlying misconception that there is limited demand or potential profit for new healthy food ventures in these communities. In the few cases where new food outlets have opened in underserved areas, they have been met with substantial customer support. The NC Green Cart program, which our team has already been funded to lead, uses a weekly mobile market model to deliver low-cost boxes of fresh F&V to easily accessible community locations (such as churches and day care centers) and provide nutrition and cooking education. This program builds upon burgeoning support for a local sustainable food system in NC and leverages a public-private partnership to increase access to fresh F&V in underserved communities. While current program funding allows for minimal evaluation, the present study hopes to demonstrate that selling affordable, accessible F&V in lower-income communities is not only financially viable, but can impact behavioral risk factors of individuals in target communities. Working together with the Green Cart program team, this research will 1.) measure the impact of a mobile market at 6, 12 and 18 months on the primary outcome of F&V consumption as well as BMI, perceived access to F&V, and self-efficacy to purchase, prepare, serve and eat fresh F&V using a randomized controlled design; and 2.) assess community support, feasibility, and financial sustainability of the public-private Green Cart partnership. Results of this research will inform our understanding of how the food environment impacts dietary choices and provide evidence for researchers, businesses, non-profits and policy makers on the potential impact and viability of using similar models to reduce food access disparities and improve diet.
    31 August, 2012
    16 January, 2017
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