Economic evaluation of a farm-to-Special Supplemental Nutrition Programme for Women, Infants and Children intervention promoting vegetable consumption

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Di Noia, Jennifer
Monica, Dorothy
Jensen, Helen
Jensen, Helen
Sikorskii, Alla
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Objective: To evaluate the cost and cost-effectiveness of a farm-to-Special Supplemental Nutrition Programme for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) intervention to promote vegetable intake and the redemption of WIC vouchers for produce purchases at farmers’ markets.

Design: An economic analysis was undertaken using data from a pilot of the intervention. Vegetable intake was assessed with a reflection spectroscopy device (the Veggie Meter® [VM]) and via self-report. Voucher redemption was reported by WIC. Total and per participant intervention costs and cost-effectiveness ratios (expressed as cost per intervention effect) were estimated in 2019 US dollars over a 6-month period from the perspective of the agency implementing the intervention.

Setting: A large, urban WIC agency.

Participants: Participants were 297 WIC-enrolled adults.

Results: Post-intervention, VM scores, self-reported vegetable intake and voucher redemption were higher in the intervention as compared with the control study group. Over the 6-month period, intervention costs were $31 092 ($194 unit cost per participant). Relative to the control group, the intervention cost $8·10 per increased VM score per participant, $3·85 per increased cup/d of vegetables consumed per participant and $3·29 per increased percentage point in voucher redemption per participant.

Conclusions: Intervention costs and cost-effectiveness ratios compared favourably with those reported for other interventions targeting vegetable intake in low-income groups, suggesting that the programme may be cost effective in promoting vegetable purchases and consumption. As there is no benchmark against which to compare cost-effectiveness ratios expressed as cost per unit of effectiveness, conclusions regarding whether this is the case must await further research.

<p>This article is published as Di Noia, Jennifer, Dorothy Monica, Helen Jensen, and Alla Sikorskii. "Economic Evaluation of a Farm-to-Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Intervention Promoting Vegetable Consumption." <em>Public Health Nutrition</em> (2021). doi:<a href="" target="_blank">10.1017/S1368980021001981</a>. Posted with permission.</p>
Farm-to-institution, WIC programme, Vegetable consumption, Economic analysis