WIC Program : almost 50 years of promoting the health of low-income families
Barriers and facilitators of daily fruit and vegetables consumption among under-resourced communities in Central Texas in USA
As demonstrated for several years, the consumption of fruit and vegetables prevents many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Yet, Americans still do not consume enough fruit and vegetables: only 10% of adults and 2% of children meet the dietary recommendations for vegetable consumption and 2.3% of adults and 7% of children meet for fruit recommendations (Lee, 2022). Large disparities are observed in fruit and vegetable consumption, particularly due to sociodemographic factors (food insecurity and income disparities).
The present study aims to identify the levers and barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption in under-resourced communities and examine whether these barriers and facilitators differ by racial and ethnic minority groups.
Significant facilitators of daily fruit and vegetables consumption were food preferences, participating in the WIC program and Hispanic/Latino(a) ethnicity
The majority of participants are female (71%), of Hispanic/Latino(a) ethnicity (54%), have a gross annual income of less than $45,000 (52%), and had less than a college degree (54%). Participants have an average age of 44 years with a household of 3.5 members. The most commonly reported food assistance program utilized was SNAP (18%), followed by food pantries/banks (12%), and WIC (9%).
A psychological barrier to fruit and vegetables consumption was identified in this study, which is the lack of time to prepare these products. This barrier was associated with a less daily intake of fruit and vegetables. Difficulty to prepare and to use fruit and vegetables and not liking their taste in the family were not statistically significant barriers of fruit and vegetables consumption. The distance to a supermarket and other psychosocial barriers were not associated with fruit and vegetable consumption.
Regarding facilitators, liking to consume fruit and vegetables, Hispanic/Latino(a) ethnicity and participation in WIC were significant predictors of their consumption. However, being a recipient of the SNAP and utilizing a food bank were not significantly associated with fruit and vegetables consumption.
The barriers and facilitators differ by race and ethnicity
Some populations have more barriers to consume fruit and vegetables. Black, white and other race participants were more likely to report having difficulty using fruit and vegetables before spoiling than Hispanic/Latino(a) participants. White and other race participants were more likely to report having difficulty and lack of time to prepare fruit and vegetables.
Multicomponent interventions may be the most effective strategy for alleviating barriers and implementing facilitators to fruit and vegetables consumption (Appleton et al, 2016).
Based on : Hollis-Hansen K, Janda KM, Tiscareño M, Filipowicz C, van den Berg A. Objective and perceived barriers and facilitators of daily fruit and vegetable consumption among under-resourced communities in Central Texas. Appetite. 2022 Sep 1;176:106130.
A baseline cohort of 390 participants from Central Texas communities historically lacking healthy food retailers completed a survey on fruit and vegetable consumption.
- Sociodemographic factors (race/ethnicity, use of food assistance in the past 12 months (SNAP or WIC programs) or a food bank, income…
- Consumption of fruits and vegetables through a food questionnaire (frequency of consumption, quantity in cups)
- Barriers and levers to fruit and vegetable consumption
- Distance to nearest supermarket
Period : between October 2018 and March 2019.
Inclusion criteria: adults (over 18 years old), identifying as the primary grocery shopper in the household, speaking Spanish or English, and not planning to leave the area in the next few years. Individuals with health conditions that prevented them from consuming fresh produce were excluded.
- Liking to eat fruits and vegetables was the strongest predictor of daily fruit and vegetable consumption: efforts to increase preferences and palatability of fruit and vegetables (cooking demonstrations, taste tests and repeated exposure) are essential.
- Public health policy and interventions to increase fruit and vegetable are needed: researchers could prioritize identifying ways to alleviate time constraints, increase F&V liking, and help eligible participants to enroll in WIC.