Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Cash incentives spur poor to buy healthier foods

San Diego-area participants got matching funds to buy produce from farmers ' markets

By Randy Dotinga

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, November 22, 2013 HealthDay News)-a recent program encouraged healthy eating by offering additional purchasing power to the poor people who receive government assistance to buy food. The only catch: they had to buy healthier types of food in markets.

It is not clear whether thousands of San Diego-area participants in federally funded programs actually became healthier because they bought foods that produce, meat and bread.

But in the big picture, "increased access to healthy foods," said San Diego County public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, co-author of a new report on the results. "And it helps the market vendors and farmers."

Wooten said local public health officials launched the program with money from two federal grants--one from an anti-obesity Trust Fund in the Obama administration's stimulus package and the other from the affordable care Act Fund to combat chronic diseases.

The study was published in the Nov. 14 issue of preventing chronic disease, published by the u.s. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Obesity is common in the United States among people of all income levels, but poor displays at particular risk. A study published a year ago showed that 5-year-old children living in the poorest neighborhoods were 28 percent more likely to be obese--a step above just being overweight--compared with children from the richest areas.

Research also suggests that the poor often live in "food deserts" where healthier foods that produce is hard to find and expensive when compared to fast food.

The new project, called farmers market fresh fund incentive program, ran from mid-2010 to 2011. It allowed people who get government food assistance food stamps to buy tokens for healthier foods--including produce, meat, bread and eggs--in local markets. They would receive tokens worth purchased amount plus a matching amount at no extra charge up to $ 10 per month.

In other words, students get $ 20 worth of tokens for healthier foods per month if they bought $ 10 worth.

Nearly 7,300 people enrolled in the program, said far more than the 3,000 that officials had expected, Wooten. Most (82 percent) had never been to a farmer's market before.

Among the people enrolled, attended 252 in investigations when you use the program and one year later. The percentage of those who said their diet was "

The cost of managing the program were not available, but the extra food costs about $ 330,000, an average of $ 93 per student.

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Cash incentives spur poor to buy healthier foods

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