Farmers market-based interventions, including the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), represent a promising strategy for improving dietary behaviors in low-income communities. Little is known, however, about the health-related characteristics of low-income parents who frequent farmers markets in urban settings. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between family-health factors and the use of farmers markets by mothers of WIC recipients.
We recruited a convenience sample of mothers of children seeking care at a primary care clinic in a large urban public hospital in Miami, Florida, in 2011 (n = 181 total). The clinic was adjacent to a newly established farmers market at the hospital. Each mother completed an interviewer-administered survey that included self-reported measures of maternal and child health, acculturation, dietary behaviors, food insecurity, and use of farmers markets.
Reported use of farmers markets was independently associated with maternal history of diabetes (odds ratio [OR], 6.9; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3–38.3) and increased maternal vegetable (but not fruit) consumption (OR, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.5–8.1). Intended future use of farmers markets was independently associated with being unemployed (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.0–5.7), increased maternal vegetable consumption (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.1–5.7), and food insecurity (OR, 3.6; 95% CI, 1.3–10.3).
This study provides a snapshot of factors associated with farmers market use in a diverse population of urban low-income families. Understanding these factors may inform public health approaches to increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption in communities at high risk for preventable chronic conditions.