The effect of food prescription programs on chronic disease management in primarily low-income populations: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Alyson Haslam, Jennifer Gill, Tori Taniguchi, Charlotte Love, Valarie Bluebird Jernigan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Having low-income limits one's ability to purchase foods that are high in nutritional value (e.g. vegetables and fruits (V/F)). Higher V/F intake is associated with less diet-related chronic disease. Food pharmacy programs are potential solutions to providing V/F to low-income populations with or at-risk for chronic disease. 

Aim: This systematic review aimed to determine the effect of food pharmacy programs, including interventions targeting populations at-risk for chronic disease. 

Methods: We searched Pubmed and Google Scholar databases for studies reporting on food pharmacy interventions and outcomes (hemoglobin A1c, body mass index (BMI), V/F intake, and blood pressure). We calculated pooled mean differences using a random-effects model. Seventeen studies met our inclusion criteria; 13 studies used a pre-/post-study design, three used a randomized controlled trial, and one was a post-survey only. 

Results: We found that the pooled mean daily servings of V/F (0.77; 95% CI: 0.30 to 1.24) was higher and BMI (−0.40; 95% CI: −0.50 to −0.31) was lower with food pharmacy interventions We did not find any differences in the pooled mean differences for hemoglobin A1c or systolic blood pressure. 

Conclusion: Findings posit that food pharmacy programs delivered to primarily low-income individuals with comorbidities may be a promising solution to improving V/F intake and possibly overall diet in these populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-400
Number of pages12
JournalNutrition and Health
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Food pharmacy
  • food prescription
  • fruit and vegetable
  • meta-analysis

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