Study: Healthy Food Rx Results – 12 Months

  • Maggie Wilkin
    Betty Sun
    Koi Mitchell
    Lizania Romero
Healthy Food Rx program fruit and veggie box

The Healthy Food Rx project aims increase access to fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods in low-income communities disproportionately affected by diabetes in Stockton, CA. Healthy Food Rx is part of the Abbott Fund’s Future Well Communities initiative, a multi-year investment to improve health outcomes through community-clinical partnerships.

This study, released by PHI’s Center for Wellness and Nutrition, evaluates the relationship between participation in the Healthy Food Rx Program and participants’ dietary behaviors, hemoglobin A1C, food insecurity and self-reported diabetes self-management behavior. The results indicate that a program addressing social determinants of health providing healthy meals, produce, and staple items delivered to participants’ homes through community partnerships was associated with improved health outcomes in participants. 

See the study

The Healthy Food Rx project provided healthy food boxes through community partnerships, enabling home delivery and complementary nutrition education opportunities, every other week for up to 12 months.

The primary goal of this evaluation was to assess the relationship between participation in the Healthy Food Rx Program and participants’ dietary behaviors, hemoglobin A1C, food insecurity and self-reported diabetes self-management behavior. The participants were surveyed at enrollment, after 6 months (Phase 1) and 12 months (Phase 2) in the program.

PHI’s Center for Wellness and Nutrition (PHI CWN) is funded by the Abbott Fund to design, implement and evaluate the Healthy Food Rx program.

Over a 12-month period of participating in the Healthy Food Rx program, patients with diabetes reported statistically significant improvements in:

  • Hemoglobin A1C decreased significantly by 0.35% overall and by 0.80% among those outside of target range at baseline;
  • Food insecurity decreased significantly by 10% in the survey sample;
  • Diet quality: Daily fruit and vegetable consumption increased significantly (0.28 and 0.14 times per day);
  • Diabetes self-management tasks
    • Overall number of tasks respondents reported doing regularly increased from around 3 to over 4, on average;
    • Percentage doing the following specific tasks also increased significantly:
      • Doing more physical activity
      • Following my diabetes meal plan
      • Going to diabetes education and/or nutrition education classes
      • Talking with mentors & friends about diabetes management and healthy living
Participant in Abbott's Food as Medicine program receives food box at their front door

Learn more about the Healthy Rx Program

“The future of Stockton depends on the health and well-being of the people who live here, and that’s why it’s so exciting to see the Healthy Food Rx program improving the health of our residents with diabetes,” said Kevin Lincoln, Mayor of Stockton, in the study press release. “Change happens through genuine partnership. I’d like to congratulate and thank our local Stockton organizations, Community Medical Centers and the Emergency Food Bank, along with Abbott and PHI, for demonstrating the importance of listening, collaboration and building new solutions to tackle the challenges of diabetes.”

See the press release

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