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Free weekly produce delivery found to improve blood sugar, food security in low-income adults

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  • Patients who received both levels of the free produce program had a significant improvement in blood sugar levels, with an overall average HbA1C reduction of 0.32 points, in comparison to participants in the control group.
  • Secondary analyses suggest that the reduction in HbA1c was larger while patients were still receiving the produce prescription program, and smaller after the intervention ended.
  • The higher-dose and lower-dose groups did not have significantly different reductions in HbA1c from each other.
  • Additionally, the study found a large improvement in food security and nutrition security status: the odds of being food secure increased by about 230% and the odds of being nutrition secure increased by 370% for patients in the intervention group (lower- and higher-dose groups combined) compared to the control group.
  • Details included in the news release, particularly about the secondary analyses, may be confirmed directly with the research authors; this is new information that was not included in the abstract.
  • Participants included 450 adults in Southern California with type 2 diabetes enrolled in Medicaid and members of the Kaiser Permanente health system. Medicaid provides health insurance coverage for people with low income, qualified pregnant women and children and people with disabilities.
  • Study participants were predominantly Hispanic (85%), female (65%), with an average age of 59 years.
  • Patients were recruited into the higher-dose, lower-dose and control group, with a ratio of 1:1:1 (150 participants in each group).
  • Nearly 60% of study participants met the criteria for food insecurity. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life.
  • Participants’ average HbA1c level, a measure of blood glucose, was 9.4% at the time of enrollment in the study. Normal HbA1c values are under 5.7%, and type 2 diabetes is diagnosed when HbA1c levels are 6.5% or higher.
  • The average BMI was 34. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obesity.
  • About three-fourths of patients had elevated blood pressure or stage 1 or 2 hypertension.

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  • Posted on November 17, 2023