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Clinical Trials: Weight Control
IRB No. 22-229-1 (Dr. Angela Bermudez Millan, PI): Barriers to Farmers Market Vouchers Redemption among Hartford WIC Participants: A Community-Based Pilot Study to Strengthen WIC Benefits Use and to Develop a Childhood Obesity Intervention
Unhealthy food choices and eating behaviors are major factors contributing to obesity. Families in predominantly minority and low-income neighborhoods have limited access to supermarkets and fresh produce. Within federal nutrition assistance programs, the WIC Farmers'; Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) has expanded the access to farm-fresh produce, by distributing vouchers that can be used to buy eligible foods from farmers, farmers' markets, or roadside stands. In the city of Hartford, there are 7 farmers'; markets that accept WIC vouchers. In addition, The Hartford Mobile Market (HMM), is a year-round mobile produce market targeting low-income Hartford neighborhoods, bringing fresh fruits and vegetables into areas with limited healthy food access. WIC benefits are accepted at all stops. However, the 7 farmers'; markets and HMM lack a steady stream of WIC benefit use, among low-income community members. This fact is reflected on the low redemption rates of WIC (FMNP) vouchers with an average of 38% redemption at farmers'; markets, with Senior Farmers'; Market Nutrition Program coupons having a much better redemption rate over the last 5 years (69%). This represents thousands of dollars that are not being used by WIC participants to purchase fresh, healthy food. Formative research is crucial in developing a tailored intervention to increase the intake of fruit and vegetables among children in the WIC program. Quantitative and qualitative research methods can be used to not only identify socio-demographic factors that can affect access to the farmers'; markets and fresh produce consumption, but also discover unanticipated information and subtle group differences related to cultural factors that may influence individuals'; dietary behaviors. Aim 1: Conduct quantitative and qualitative research to: (1a) examine maternal understanding of the association between the consumption of F&V and healthy weight; (1b) understand the barriers among Hartford residents to using WIC vouchers at the Hartford farmer';s markets and the HMM; and (1c) optimize components of a F&V intervention for overweight and obese children participating in the WIC program, including obtaining input on the most effective means of delivering educational messages to promote the usage of WIC vouchers at Hartford farmer';s markets and the HMM. Aim 2: Utilize the pilot findings to inform the design of a community-based intervention design among low-income WIC program participants to target childhood obesity and submit a federally funded-external grant proposal.