News Briefs

UVM initiates study on food access and childhood obesity

RUTLAND—The University of Vermont is collaborating with Cornell University, NOFA-VT, and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) of the UVM Extension on research that examines whether low-income participation in a subsidized community supported agriculture (CSA) program, along with tailored nutrition education, can improve the quality of diet for low-income children, who are at highest risk for obesity. The Vermont team is now recruiting families with children ages 2-12 to participate in this 3-year study that spans Addison, Rutland and Windham counties.

This study comes at a time when new research has linked childhood obesity with low-income. Jane Kolodinsky, co-principal investigator of the study and chairwoman of the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics and Center for Rural Studies at UVM said, “according to the most recent census, Vermont’s poverty rate has been increasing, coinciding with a slight increase in childhood obesity rates. Despite the state’s breakthroughs in the food system, many food-insecure Vermonters are not aware of alternate options, like CSAs, that can provide affordable and healthy foods.”

To qualify for the study, families must have participated in SNAP, 3SquaresVT, WIC or Head Start benefits in the last 12 months, or fall below 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Line, and must not have participated in a CSA within the last five years. A total of 60 families will be recruited across the three counties.

Starting in June, participating families receive reduced cost CSA shares at 50 percent of the regular cost for two years, and tailored nutrition education; plus an opportunity to receive up to $615 in compensation for participating. This multi-state “Cost-Offset CSA” study is administered through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and will run through 2018.

Recruitment will continue through May 11. Call 802-656-0892 for details.

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