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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

University at Buffalo: To Encourage Healthy Eating, Focus on Mobile Produce and Farmers Markets

Smaller produce purveyors like mobile and farmers markets are the cream of the crop at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in low-income communities. New supermarkets, however, do not show much of an impact in that regard, according to new research from University at Buffalo.

That’s the takeaway of a literature review of studies conducted on new mobile produce markets, farmers markets and grocery stores, and how each affected increasing produce consumption in under resourced neighborhoods.

The results point to the need for expanding mobile and farmers markets to improve the diets of people who live in low-income communities, says lead author Dr. Kelseanna Hollis-Hansen, candidate in community health and health behavior in the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.

“The review informs us that if the goal is to improve fruit and vegetable intake specifically, investing in smaller community-based retailers such as mobile produce markets and farmers markets is more effective,” said Dr. Hollis-Hansen, also a graduate research assistant in the Department of Pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.

She noted the finding that new grocery stores didn’t positively affect eating behaviors was surprising to the research team: “It makes sense because there are thousands of items available in the grocery store that compete with fruit and vegetable purchases.”

“Mobile and farmers markets may be more effective because they do more than just sell fresh produce. They also try to address other things that make it harder for people to eat healthfully,” added Dr. Lucia Leone, senior author and UB assistant professor of community health and health behavior.

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