Author: Josh Hardin

Intervention Promoting Fruit & Vegetable Consumption Produces Positive Results, Says Prof. Kim Gans

By Loretta Waldman

fresh to you truck

A first-of-its-kind intervention study aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income residents is the focus of a forthcoming paper by Kim Gans, a professor of Human Development & Family Studies and an InCHIP Principal Investigator and Core Director. Gans led the study conducted through an innovative, public-private partnership between the Institute for Community Health Promotion at Brown University, where she is an adjunct professor, and a Rhode Island produce distributor.

The study, Live Well Viva Bien, involved 15 subsidized Section 8 family, elderly and disabled housing sites. Eight of the sites participated in the intervention, which included access to a discount mobile market at each site offering high quality fruits and vegetables at lower-than-supermarket prices. The control group received physical activity and stress reduction interventions. The results were encouraging.

At 12 months, researchers saw a statistically significant mean increase in fruit and vegetable consumption. In elderly and disabled housing sites, they saw a difference in consumption of over 2/3 of a cup per day between the intervention and control sites.

Gans and her fellow researchers saw a need for sustainable interventions that increase year-round access to and availability of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Prior to the study, there had been no rigorous randomized trials looking at the efficacy of fruit and vegetable market programs in boosting fruit and vegetable consumption, she says.

“This is the first randomized trial to ever look at the effectiveness of a fruit and vegetable market program,” says Gans. “There have been other evaluations and studies done, but none of them has been a randomized trial.”

Funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute, the intervention also included nutritional education such as monthly newsletters, DVDs, recipe cards, cooking demonstrations and two six-week campaigns attempting to get people to eat more fruits and vegetables and to increase the variety of fruits and vegetables they eat.

Recruited residents had their fruit and vegetable consumption measured at baseline, six and 12 months, Gans said. The markets, dubbed Fresh To You, were held the first two weeks of the month for 12 months, both inside and outside, and prices were 15-25 percent below those at the supermarket.  Interventions were offered in English and Spanish and also included a kick-off event and taste testing opportunities.

Americans do not eat adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables and prior to this study, researchers determined that 74 percent of Rhode Islanders don’t.  The importance of fruits and vegetables in the diet is well-established, says Gans, as are the risks associated with not getting enough of them in our diets.

  • Insufficient vegetable intake is among the top 10 selected risk factors for global mortality.
  • Fruits and vegetables are high in micronutrients, dietary fiber, phytochemicals
  • Insufficient intake of F&V is related to cancer, CVD, and stroke, obesity and diabetes

Other positive results of the study included a “dose response” effect showing that the more markets people came to the higher the change in their fruit and vegetable consumption was, Gans said.  Those people who came to every market – roughly 12 percent of study participants– showed an increased fruit and vegetable consumption of over two cups per day, she said.

“We also saw a relationship between watching the DVD and intervention change,” Gans says. “People who watched the DVD showed a bigger increase in daily fruit and vegetable intake than those who did not.”

The market is now run by the Rhode Island Public Health Institute and has a new name – Food On The Move – as well as a new logo. Gans currently has a new intervention study in the works aimed at increasing physical activity in Latino men. It is built on a similar study involving Latino women.

Stigma Intervention and HIV Testing for Black Gay Men and Transgender Women, a New Study by Prof. Lisa Eaton

By Loretta Waldman

stop stigma

Professor Lisa Eaton is embarking on a new intervention aimed at reducing the impact of stigma and logistical barriers to HIV/STI testing.

Funding for the new study was finalized in September and is provided by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), said Eaton, an InCHIP researcher and Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies. The goal of the study is to remove critical barriers well recognized by her and other researchers – emotional and logistical barriers to more frequent HIV/STI testing among Black men and transgender women who have male sex partners.

The need for the intervention is tremendous.
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InCHIP Interview: Behavioral and social aspects of HIV

InCHIP experts in the behavioral and social aspects of HIV, Seth Kalichman, PhD and Lisa Eaton, PhD, discuss successes with the HIV epidemic to date, and present challenges and opportunities for continued progress. Dr. Kalichman, a UConn Professor of Psychological Sciences, is the Director of the Southeast HIV/AIDS Research and Evaluation (SHARE) Project, a community-based research site located in Atlanta. He also has been conducting HIV/AIDS research in South Africa since 2000. Dr. Eaton is a UConn Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and Associate Director of SHARE Project with primary interests in stigma and health disparities among race and sexual orientation minority populations.



UConn Designated as Federal Health Care Study Center

In recognition of the team’s clinical expertise, UConn was recently awarded a 5-year contract to serve as one of 13 Evidence-based Practice Centers supported by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The designation is highly competitive and only a select few institutions are given the honor. Some of the other centers currently operating in the U.S. are overseen by Duke University, Brown University, Johns Hopkins University, and the Mayo Clinic.

Networking Event for Children’s Health Behavior!

Are you interested in research in Children’s Health Behavior?
Come to the

CHIP-CCMC Networking Event!

Thursday, October 9th, 2014
Wood-N-Tap Bar & Grill
99 Sisson Ave., Hartford

You are invited to an evening designed to foster collaborations between researchers at the Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention (CHIP) and CT Children’s Medical Center (CCMC).

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