Background: Increased access to affordable produce may increase fruit and vegetable serving intake. The objective of this study was to characterize the individuals utilizing the Veggie Van in low-income areas of Grand Rapids and Muskegon, MI including food security status and fruit and vegetable servings.
Methods: The participants were residents in Muskegon and Grand Rapids, MI purchasing food from the low-income sites of the YMCA Veggie Van. Demographics, food security, participation in food assistance programs, and income of the participants was collected. Fruit and vegetable servings were measured with three 24-hour recalls. Anthropometric measures (height, weight, and waist circumference) were collected for all eight participants. Three participants completed both the survey and recalls, three completed only the recalls, and two completed only the survey.
Results: The majority of participants who completed the survey were of low food security (60%). Some of the respondents participated in food assistance programs such as SNAP (80%), WIC (40%) and Double-Up Food Bucks (40%). The median fruit and vegetable (excluding potatoes) servings of participants that completed the 24-hour recalls was1.44 (IQR 0.56, 1.46) and 1.46 (IQR .93, 2.83).
Conclusion: At low-income sites, the YMCA Veggie Van is reaching primarily low-income individuals with potentially low food security. The fruit and vegetable servings of Veggie Van participants is much lower than the recommendation of 7-9 servings per day, which may suggest that fruit and vegetable intake is influenced by more than increasing access.
Craven, Sarah, "Characteristics and Fruit and Vegetable Intake of Low-Income YMCA Veggie Van Participants in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, MI" (2015). Honors Projects. 593.