Comparative Effectiveness of Healthy Food Assistance Benefits for Preventive Care

NOMINATED TOPIC | November 18, 2021

1. What is the decision or change (e.g. clinical topic, practice guideline, system design, delivery of care) you are facing or struggling with where a summary of the evidence would be helpful?

We are interested in understanding the comparative effectiveness of providing healthy food assistance benefits (funds restricted to fruits and vegetables, called "produce prescriptions") as a preventive intervention for adults with mild diet-related chronic conditions (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension) in relation to existing treatments (statins, nutrition education, etc.) Specifically, we are interested in the comparative effects on key health and healthcare utilization indicators including hemoglobin A1C, blood pressure, weight, and birth-related outcomes.

2. Why are you struggling with this issue?

Numerous studies have shown the benefits and absence of harm of eating fruits and vegetables. Health experts agree that most Americans do not eat enough fruits and vegetables and that most people's health would improve if they increased their daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Diet-related chronical health issues disproportionately impact low-income and marginalized populations and significantly contribute to racialized health disparities. However, there is not a mechanism or "prescription" for increasing healthy food intake. Interventions typically focus on educating patients or prescribing drugs as a way to reduce risk.

3. What do you want to see changed? How will you know that your issue is improving or has been addressed?

We'd like to see the practice of "prescribing produce" become an accepted practice under the medical "standard of care." We'd like to see produce prescriptions become a covered benefit under public and private health plans.

4. When do you need the evidence report?

Tuesday, 02/01/2022

5. What will you do with the evidence report ?

We intend to share any reports with our healthcare partners and healthcare leadership at the state and federal level.

Supporting Documentation

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Association of a Fruit and Vegetable Subsidy Program With Food Purchases by Individuals With Low Income in the US (PDF)

Optional Information About You

What is your role or perspective? SDOH Program Implementer

If you are you making a suggestion on behalf of an organization, please state the name of the organization: Reinvestment Partners

May we contact you if we have questions about your nomination? Yes

Page last reviewed November 2021
Page originally created November 2021

Internet Citation: Comparative Effectiveness of Healthy Food Assistance Benefits for Preventive Care. Content last reviewed November 2021. Effective Health Care Program, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

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