Food security status and produce intake and behaviors of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and Farmers' Market Nutrition Program participants

Mary L Kropf, David H Holben, John P Holcomb, Heidi Anderson
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2007, 107 (11): 1903-8

OBJECTIVE: This study identified differences between women from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)- and WIC/Farmers' Market Nutrition Program-participating households regarding household food security status, fruit and vegetable intake and behaviors, perceived diet quality, and education level; and assessed the relationship between household food security status and perceived diet quality and perceived health. DESIGN, SUBJECTS/SETTING: Cross-sectional survey of women from Athens County, Ohio (WIC, n=829; Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, n=246) living in WIC households.

RESULTS: Of 228 participants completing the food security portion of the survey, 61 (26.8%) were living in food secure households, while 47 (20.6%), 75 (32.9%), and 45 (19.7%) were living in households at risk for (marginal) food insecurity, with low food security, and with very low food security, respectively. For the entire sample, food insecurity was associated with poorer diet quality (r=-0.248, P<0.001). Food security status (chi(2)=2.117, P=0.548) did not differ between groups. Farmers' Market Nutrition Program reported higher education levels (P=0.027). Unlike fruit intake (t test, P=0.769), vegetable intake servings were greater among Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (2.2+/-1.2), compared to WIC (1.9+/-1.0) (t test, P=0.040). Both perceived benefit (chi(2)=4.574, P=0.032) and perceived diet quality (chi(2)=7.219, P=0.027) were greater for Farmers' Market Nutrition Program.

CONCLUSIONS: Farmers' Market Nutrition Program participants exhibit more indicators of a healthful diet, but appear not to be more food secure. Nutrition education regarding the benefits of fresh produce intake can help to improve diet quality and increase Farmers' Market Nutrition Program participation.

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