Deakin University

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Testing the Feasibility and Dietary Impact of a “Produce Prescription” Program for Adults with Undermanaged Type 2 Diabetes and Food Insecurity in Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-15, 03:05 authored by JHY Wu, K Trieu, D Coyle, L Huang, N Wijesuriya, K Nallaiah, T Lung, GL Di Tanna, Miaobing ZhengMiaobing Zheng, D Mozaffarian, F MacMillan, D Simmons, T Wu, S Twigg, A Gauld, M Constantino, M McGill, J Wong, B Neal
Background: There is growing interest in Food is Medicine programs that incorporate food-based interventions into health care for patients with diet-related conditions. Objectives: We aimed to test the feasibility of a “produce prescription” program and its impact on diet quality for people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) experiencing food insecurity in Australia. Methods: We conducted a pre–post intervention study in n = 50 adults experiencing food insecurity with T2D and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) ≥8%. Once enrolled, participants received healthy food boxes weekly free of charge, with the contents sufficient to create 2 meals/d, 5 d/wk for the entire household, over 12 wk. Participants were also provided with tailored recipes and behavioral change support. The primary outcome was change in diet quality assessed by 24-h diet recalls. Secondary outcomes included differences in cardiovascular disease risk factors; blood micronutrients; and feasibility indicators. Differences in the baseline and 12-wk mean primary and secondary outcomes were assessed by paired t tests. Results: Participants were older adults with mean ± SD age 63 ± 9 y (range: 40–87 y), HbA1c 9.8% ± 1.5%, and 46% were female. Overall, 92% completed the final study follow-up for the primary outcome. Compared with baseline, diet quality improved at week 12, with an increase in the mean overall diet quality (Alternate Healthy Eating Index score) of 12.9 (95% CI: 8.7, 17.1; P < 0.001), driven by significant improvements in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, red/processed meat, trans fat, sodium, and alcohol consumption. Blood lipids also improved (total:HDL cholesterol: −0.48; 95% CI: −0.72, −0.24; P < 0.001), and there was significant weight loss (−1.74 kg; 95% CI: −2.80, −0.68 kg, P = 0.002), but no changes in other clinical outcomes. Participants reported high levels of satisfaction with the program. Conclusions: These findings provide strong support for an adequately powered randomized trial to assess effects of produce prescription as an innovative approach to improve clinical management among individuals with T2D experiencing food insecurity. This trial was registered at as ACTRN12621000404820.



Journal of Nutrition






United States







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal




Elsevier BV