Child Consumption of Whole Fruit and Fruit Juice Following Six Months of Exposure to a Pediatric Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program.Nutrients. 2019 Dec 20; 12(1)N
Public health recommendations suggest limiting child consumption of fruit juice in favor of whole fruit due to juice's high sugar content, lack of fruit fiber, and potential for excess intake. However, replacing juice with whole fruit may be particularly challenging for low-income and minority children, who report the highest intake of 100% juice. To address access and affordability challenges among low-income children, researchers partnered with pediatricians in an urban food desert community, to introduce a fruit and vegetable prescription program (FVPP) that provided a $15 prescription for fresh produce to every child during each office visit. Participating vendors included a farmers' market and local mobile market. This study assessed changes in daily consumption of total fruit and whole fruit among 108 pediatric patients following six months of exposure to the FVPP. Child-reported mean daily intake of whole fruit increased significantly from the baseline to the 6-month follow-up (p = 0.03): 44% of children reported an increased intake of at least ¼ cup per day, and 30% reported an increased intake of at least ½ cup per day. Changes in total fruit intake (including fruit juice) were not significant. Results suggest a pediatric FVPP may have meaningful impacts on children's dietary behaviors, particularly with regard to the intake of whole fruits.