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Subsidised fruit and vegetables for Aboriginal families - health intervention or just a handout?

2010 PHC Research Conference: Paper abstract

Aims & rationale/Objectives
Social disadvantage correlates with poorer health outcomes, higher rates of chronic disease and lower adherence to nutrition guidelines. This is reflected in the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Nutrition is one of the most significant factors supporting people’s health. Thus effective interventions to improve nutrition are important to guide policy development. The aims of this evaluation are to determine the impact of subsidised fruit and vegetables on Aboriginal children's nutrition and document how local Aborignal communities engaged with this program.
Three rural Aboriginal Health Services obtained funding to provide subsidised fruit and vegetables to disadvantaged Aboriginal families. An evaluation of this pilot program has been developed. This has required these health services to balance the immediate needs for service delivery with the requirements of research. The impact evaluation will measure the effect on children’s nutrition using 24 hour dietary recalls and biomarkers. Process evaluation involving focus groups and key informant interviews will document the implementation and sustainability of the program.
70 new families have been recruited to a before and after comparison. Baseline nutritional assessment of 149 children will be presented. A proposed RCT did not proceed due to ethical concerns and practical constraints in these health services. The challenges of Aboriginal community involvement in evaluation research will be presented.
Knowledge of social determinants of health emphasise the need for strategies to complement individual health promotion. Healthy food subsidy programs have expanded internationally. This evaluation enhances understanding of the role of food subsidies to improve the nutrition of disadvantaged Australians.
Presentation type
Session theme
Preventive health: community
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Black A, Vally H, Morris P, Jones R, Smith F, O'Dea K. (2010). Subsidised fruit and vegetables for Aboriginal families - health intervention or just a handout?. In: 2010 Primary Health Care Research Conference: Program & Abstracts. Primary Health Care Research and Information Service, Australia.

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