Health outcomes of a subsidised fruit and vegetable program for Aboriginal children in northern New South Wales

Andrew Black, Hassan Vally, Peter Morris, Mark DANIEL, Adrian Esterman, Fiona Smith, Kerin O'Dea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the impact of a fruit and vegetable subsidy program on short-term health outcomes of disadvantaged Aboriginal children.

Design, setting and participants: A before-and-after study involving clinical assessments, health record audits and blood testing of all children aged 0–17 years (n = 167) from 55 participating families at baseline and after 12 months at three Aboriginal community-controlled health services in New South Wales. All assessments were completed between December 2008 and September 2010.

Intervention: A weekly box of subsidised fruit and vegetables linked to preventive health services and nutrition promotion at an Aboriginal Medical Service.

Main outcome measures: Change in episodes of illness, health service and emergency department attendances, antibiotic prescriptions and anthropometry.

Results: There was a significant decrease in oral antibiotics prescribed (− 0.5 prescriptions/year; 95% CI, − 0.8 to − 0.2) during 12 months of participation in the program compared with the 12 months before the program. The proportion of children classified as overweight or obese at baseline was 28.3% (38/134) and the proportion in each weight category did not change (P = 0.721) after 12 months. A small but significant increase in mean haemoglobin level (3.1 g/L; 95% CI, 1.4–4.8 g/L) was shown, although the proportion with iron deficiency (baseline, 41%; follow-up, 37%; P = 0.440) and anaemia (baseline, 8%; follow-up, 5%; P = 0.453) did not change significantly.

Conclusion: This fruit and vegetable subsidy program was associated with improvements in some indicators of short-term health status among disadvantaged Aboriginal children. A controlled trial is warranted to investigate the sustainability and feasibility of healthy food subsidy programs in Australia
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-50
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Volume199
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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New South Wales
Vegetables
Fruit
Health
Vulnerable Populations
Prescriptions
Preventive Health Services
Anti-Bacterial Agents
Community Health Services
Anthropometry
Health Status
Health Services
Hospital Emergency Service
Anemia
Hemoglobins
Iron
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Weights and Measures
Food

Cite this

Black, Andrew ; Vally, Hassan ; Morris, Peter ; DANIEL, Mark ; Esterman, Adrian ; Smith, Fiona ; O'Dea, Kerin. / Health outcomes of a subsidised fruit and vegetable program for Aboriginal children in northern New South Wales. In: Medical Journal of Australia. 2013 ; Vol. 199, No. 1. pp. 46-50.
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abstract = "Objective: To evaluate the impact of a fruit and vegetable subsidy program on short-term health outcomes of disadvantaged Aboriginal children.Design, setting and participants: A before-and-after study involving clinical assessments, health record audits and blood testing of all children aged 0–17 years (n = 167) from 55 participating families at baseline and after 12 months at three Aboriginal community-controlled health services in New South Wales. All assessments were completed between December 2008 and September 2010.Intervention: A weekly box of subsidised fruit and vegetables linked to preventive health services and nutrition promotion at an Aboriginal Medical Service.Main outcome measures: Change in episodes of illness, health service and emergency department attendances, antibiotic prescriptions and anthropometry.Results: There was a significant decrease in oral antibiotics prescribed (− 0.5 prescriptions/year; 95{\%} CI, − 0.8 to − 0.2) during 12 months of participation in the program compared with the 12 months before the program. The proportion of children classified as overweight or obese at baseline was 28.3{\%} (38/134) and the proportion in each weight category did not change (P = 0.721) after 12 months. A small but significant increase in mean haemoglobin level (3.1 g/L; 95{\%} CI, 1.4–4.8 g/L) was shown, although the proportion with iron deficiency (baseline, 41{\%}; follow-up, 37{\%}; P = 0.440) and anaemia (baseline, 8{\%}; follow-up, 5{\%}; P = 0.453) did not change significantly.Conclusion: This fruit and vegetable subsidy program was associated with improvements in some indicators of short-term health status among disadvantaged Aboriginal children. A controlled trial is warranted to investigate the sustainability and feasibility of healthy food subsidy programs in Australia",
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Health outcomes of a subsidised fruit and vegetable program for Aboriginal children in northern New South Wales. / Black, Andrew; Vally, Hassan; Morris, Peter; DANIEL, Mark; Esterman, Adrian; Smith, Fiona; O'Dea, Kerin.

In: Medical Journal of Australia, Vol. 199, No. 1, 2013, p. 46-50.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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N2 - Objective: To evaluate the impact of a fruit and vegetable subsidy program on short-term health outcomes of disadvantaged Aboriginal children.Design, setting and participants: A before-and-after study involving clinical assessments, health record audits and blood testing of all children aged 0–17 years (n = 167) from 55 participating families at baseline and after 12 months at three Aboriginal community-controlled health services in New South Wales. All assessments were completed between December 2008 and September 2010.Intervention: A weekly box of subsidised fruit and vegetables linked to preventive health services and nutrition promotion at an Aboriginal Medical Service.Main outcome measures: Change in episodes of illness, health service and emergency department attendances, antibiotic prescriptions and anthropometry.Results: There was a significant decrease in oral antibiotics prescribed (− 0.5 prescriptions/year; 95% CI, − 0.8 to − 0.2) during 12 months of participation in the program compared with the 12 months before the program. The proportion of children classified as overweight or obese at baseline was 28.3% (38/134) and the proportion in each weight category did not change (P = 0.721) after 12 months. A small but significant increase in mean haemoglobin level (3.1 g/L; 95% CI, 1.4–4.8 g/L) was shown, although the proportion with iron deficiency (baseline, 41%; follow-up, 37%; P = 0.440) and anaemia (baseline, 8%; follow-up, 5%; P = 0.453) did not change significantly.Conclusion: This fruit and vegetable subsidy program was associated with improvements in some indicators of short-term health status among disadvantaged Aboriginal children. A controlled trial is warranted to investigate the sustainability and feasibility of healthy food subsidy programs in Australia

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