Parent perception of neighborhood fruit and vegetable availability is associated with increased home produce availability and child fruit and vegetable intake

Oct 25, 2021

Nutrition Policy Institute researchers evaluated parent perception of neighborhood produce availability in a large study of over 5000 children between the ages of 4-15 years in more than 130 communities across the US. Results suggest that parents who reported higher neighborhood produce availability–having access to a large selection of produce, produce being high quality, and produce being easy to purchase–were more likely to report having fruits and vegetables available in their home. Children living in homes with higher reported produce availability had higher fruit and vegetable intake, which was also associated with lower rates of child obesity measured by body mass index. However, these relationships were weaker in children living in households experiencing poverty and food insecurity. This suggests that efforts to improve childhood obesity through optimizing neighborhood and home fruit and vegetable access may be less effective in neighborhoods and households experiencing high rates of poverty and food insecurity. The study–part of the Healthy Communities Study project funded by the National Institutes of Health to examine community impacts on child obesity–was published in October 2021 in the journal Nutrients. Authors include Laurel Moffatt of Washington State University Extension Youth and Families Program Unit, Lauren Au of UC Davis Department of Nutrition, and Nutrition Policy Institute researchers Lorrene Ritchie, Wendi Gosliner and Kaela Plank.

By Danielle L. Lee
Author - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Lorrene Ritchie
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist