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Summary

Through support from a Pilot & Feasibility award, Dr. Anne Thorndike and colleagues assessed the efficacy of a choice architecture intervention in corner stores to increase fruit and vegetable purchase by families participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).  Six stores were randomly assigned to a choice architecture intervention vs. no intervention.  The intervention consisted of consultation with store owners to determine ways to increase the visibility of fruits and vegetables and to provide necessary resources such as new shelving or containers to achieve this goal.  During the intervention period, WIC fruit and vegetable sales increased in intervention stores by $40  per month, whereas they decreased by $20 per month in control stores.  The findings demonstrate that choice architecture interventions could promote healthier food choices among low-income families.

Key Findings

Placement of fruits and vegetables near the front of corner stores increased the purchase of these items by customers using WIC.

Citation

  • Thorndike AN, Bright OM, Dimond MA, Fishman R, Levy DE. Choice architecture to promote fruit and vegetable purchases by families participating in the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): randomized corner store pilot study. Public Health Nutr. 2016 Nov 28:1-9.

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Research Details

  • Research Center: Harvard Medical School
  • Featured NORC Member(s): Anne Thorndike, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
  • Center Contribution: This research was conducted using funds from a P & F award from NORCH.

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