Food for Health Research Study: Produce Prescription Program Spotlight

by Marissa Sheldon

What they do: In May 2022, NYC Health + Hospitals launched the Food for Health research study, which is designed to measure the impact of a home delivery fruit and vegetable prescription program on the diet and health of children ages two through eight with overweight or obesity, and on the ability of their primary caregiver and food preparer to provide them with fresh fruit and vegetables.

More than 250 families whose children receive pediatric care at NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens will be enrolled in this randomized, controlled trial. At their usual visit, all eligible children (ages 2 to 8 with a BMI at or above the 85th percentile) receive a prescription from their pediatrician directing them to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. All families who enroll in the study receive educational materials on healthy eating, child-friendly recipes for meals and snacks, and child-safe cooking equipment to encourage children to participate in preparing their food. Families randomized to the intervention group will also receive free weekly home delivery of locally-grown fruits and vegetables for 24 weeks.

How they do it: Produce for the prescription program is provided by Brooklyn-based Farm to People. All participating families complete surveys with questions regarding child and caregiver diets, caregiver food preparation habits, and family food and nutrition security. The surveys are filled out at enrollment, after six months, and again after nine months to assess individual changes and differences between the two study groups. Children’s height and weight are measured at enrollment and at six months to determine the impact of fresh produce home delivery on their health.

Mission: To determine whether removing barriers to accessing fresh produce improves children’s diets and health.

Major Funding: New York Health Foundation and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: Approximately $150,000

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect health: The Food for Health study is considered to be the first of its kind in the nation. Through informal feedback, some families have shared that they value the fruit and vegetable deliveries and that they are eating more and new types of fruits and vegetables.

FACT SHEET:

Location:
NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens
82-68 164th Street
Queens, NY 11432

Core Programs: Produce prescription program research study

Number of staff: 1

Number of volunteers: 0

Areas served: Queens, NY

Year Started: 2022

CEO: Neil J. Moore

Contact Information: 
Roopa Kalyanaraman Marcello, Principal Investigator
Email: marcellr@nychhc.org

NYC Health + Hospitals Press Office
Email: pressoffice@nychhc.org
Phone: 212-788-3339

Learn More:

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