Abstract P213: Industry and Non-Profit Partnerships as an Effective Model for Implementation of Community-Based Nutrition Interventions
Introduction: Consuming fruits, vegetables and whole grains is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Community-based nutrition programs are an effective approach to changing attitudes and behaviors around food and health in underserved populations. The American Heart Association and Aramark launched Healthy for Life 20 by 20, a five-year initiative to increase fruits, vegetables and whole grains by 20 percent. A major focus of their collaboration was the development and implementation of a 12-week community-delivered nutrition engagement pilot. The purpose of this pilot was to evaluate the effectiveness of this health program in improving healthy food purchasing behaviors, nutrition and lifestyle choices.
Methods: A 12-week pilot intervention was designed and implemented in three cities at five community centers March-June 2016. Weekly sessions were focused on enhancement of healthy cooking and shopping skills, nutrition education, and assessment of personal cardiovascular risk factors. Participating centers had the option to choose from two delivery methods: optimal and flexible. Participant fruit and vegetable intake, whole grain intake, and number of meals prepared at home were assessed before and after completion of the intervention.
Results: Study participants (n=119) were predominately female (79%), Hispanic (60%) and African-American (27%), had high school or lower educational attainment (67%), lower income (39% < $20K, 40% $20K-$39.9K), young and middle ages (45% <34 years old, 27% 35-44), and 52% had ≥ 2 children living in their household. Three-quarters of participants (76%) had no previous experience participating in health and wellness programs. The median consumption of fruits/vegetables among participants increased by 2 servings/day (3.0 to 5.0) and over two-thirds of participants (69%) increased their fruit/vegetable consumption by at least 1/2 a serving. The median consumption of whole grains increased by 1 serving/day (1.0 to 2.0) and half (48%) of participants increased their whole grain consumption by at least 1 serving. Forty-five percent of participants (n=87) increased their percentage of eaten meals prepared at home each week.
Conclusions: The use of industry and non-profit partnerships in a community engagement format can be an effective way to facilitate programs focused on increasing consumer trust for shopping and cooking, to build confidence of new skills, and to empower individuals to improve their health and potentially the health of their family. These results suggest that this community engagement partnership approach can positively transform health in communities and drive the American Heart Association’s goal of improving Americans’ health by 20% by 2020.
Author Disclosures: D. Vafiadis: None. L. McKnight: None. H. Gavras: None. K. Robb: None. M. Denning: None. C. Shay: None.
- © 2017 by American Heart Association, Inc.