Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Food and Nutrition

First Advisor

Smith, Sylvia

Abstract

Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death in America. There is a significant body of research which has and continues to study the connection between a diet high in fruits and vegetables and the prevention of the leading causes of death in America from chronic disease. One population that doesn't get enough fruits and vegetables are those in poverty. Government programs like the Supplemental Foods Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) were designed to reduce food insecurity in such populations, and the FMNP may have the potential to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. However, redemption rates for participants enrolled in the WIC FMNP were 47% for the state of Illinois. There is a paucity of research on the FMNP; therefore, the goals for this study were to identify potential barriers to redemption of FMNP checks, evaluate the magnitude of agreement between WIC coordinators and WIC participants, and to surmise if perceived barriers vary by ethnicity. This was a mixed methods study which employed focus groups, interviews, and a survey instrument. Surveys were sent to all WIC offices that participated in the FMNP and 2,409 participant surveys and 16 WIC coordinator surveys were analyzed. Mean participants agreement responses all fell in the range of disagreement to barrier statements. WIC coordinators and WIC participants showed significantly different means for barrier statements on 7 of 14 barriers tested (p ≤ 0.05). Response means for barriers varied significantly by ethnicity for all 14 barriers tested (p ≤ 0.05). The results suggest that future studies may need to study other constructs of the Health Belief Model in conjunction with perceived barriers to further contribute to the understanding of low redemption rates for WIC FMNP checks.

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