Fresh Produce Rx Tied to Improvements in Food Security, Cardiometabolic Outcomes

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Clinically relevant improvements seen in glycated hemoglobin, blood pressure, and BMI for adults

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 29, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Fresh produce prescriptions are associated with significant improvements in food security and health status for both adults and children, according to a study published online Aug. 29 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Kurt Hager, Ph.D., from Tufts University in Boston, and colleagues used individual-level data from 22 produce prescription locations in 12 U.S. states from 2014 to 2020 to assess the impact on cardiometabolic health and food security outcomes.

The researchers found that after a median participation of 6.0 months, fruit and vegetable intake increased by 0.85 cups per day among adults and by 0.26 cups per day among children. Receipt of fruits and vegetables was associated with lower odds of being food-insecure (odds ratio [OR], 0.63) and higher odds of improving one level in self-reported health status for adults (OR, 1.62) and children (OR, 2.37). Glycated hemoglobin declined by −0.29 percentage points among adults with glycated hemoglobin ≥6.5 percent, while systolic and diastolic blood pressures declined by −8.38 mm Hg and −4.94 mm Hg, respectively, among adults with hypertension. Among adults with overweight or obesity, body mass index (BMI) declined by −0.36 kg/m2 (−0.64 to −0.09), but child BMI z-score did not change −0.01 (−0.06 to 0.04).

“We know that food insecurity impacts health through several important pathways, including overall dietary quality, but also through stress and anxiety, mental health and tradeoffs between paying for food and other basic needs such as housing costs, utilities and medications,” Hager said in a statement. “These results indicate produce prescriptions may lay an important foundation for improved health and well-being.”

One author disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text


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