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

Black, Andrew P., Vally, Hassan, Morris, Peter S, Daniel, Mark, Esterman, Adrian J., Smith, Fiona E., and O'Dea, Kerin (2013) Health outcomes of a subsidised fruit and vegetable program for Aboriginal children in northern New South Wales. Medical Journal of Australia, 199 (1). pp. 46-50.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.5694/mja13.10445
15


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 (3.1g/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.

Item ID: 37495
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1326-5377
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC PhD Scholarship ID no. 520681, NHMRC Program Grant 320860
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2015 07:41
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 100%
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page