Background: Fruit and vegetable prescription (FVRx) programs provide “prescriptions” for produce, but increased access to nutritional food may be insufficient for long-term behavior change. Purpose: We integrated nutritional education into an FVRx program at a farmers' market and community garden at Penn State Medical Center by pairing medical student “mentors” with 4 families with overweight/obese children. Methods: Each head of household completed a presurvey that included basic demographic information, as well as a question about barriers to healthy eating. Families made up to 4 visits to the market with mentors, during which students discussed and documented produce utilization. A 1-hour focus group with mentors was conducted and transcribed. Thematic analysis was performed on qualitative data. Results: Two families completed all visits. On average, families spent 32 minutes at the market/garden per visit, had expenditures of $40.68, and reported one weekly produce item going unused. Families valued on-site mentoring, and students felt that it provided opportunities for professional development and improved self-care while also benefiting vendors. Discussion: Integrating medical student nutritional mentoring into an FVRx program was feasible and conferred benefits to participating families, students, and vendors. Translation to Health Education Practice: Educators should consider pairing access to nutritional foods with mentoring.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health