Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Fed Funding Fuels Nutrition Study That Will Feed Fresno State's Hungriest
gvw_nancy_price
By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 1 year ago on
November 22, 2022

Share

A $500,000 federal grant is fueling a three-year research study at Fresno State that seeks to determine whether encouraging students to consume more fresh fruit and vegetables will decrease their food insecurity and diet-related chronic disease.

The grant was one of 43 awarded nationwide by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through its Produce Prescription Program. The USDA on Tuesday announced an investment of $59.4 million to support the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program’s (GusNIP) Produce Prescription and Nutrition Incentive programs that are designed to encourage families and individuals to eat more healthfully by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Shabnam Pooya

The local study is being led by Dr. Shabnam Pooya, a Fresno State assistant professor of family food science. Pooya did not immediately respond to an email Tuesday seeking further comment.

Wednesday morning, Pooya told GV Wire that she expects about 400 students will be recruited to participate over two years, and the third year will be used for analysis of data. The students will be referred through the Amendola Family Student Cupboard, which is part of the university’s Food Security Project to help students who struggle with food insecurity.

Food Insecurity Among Students

According to the study’s synopsis, approximately one of every two Fresno State students suffers from food insecurity. People with higher rates of food insecurity typically eat fewer fresh fruits and vegetables, the synopsis reported.

Pooya said a prior study during COVID-19 by her team showed that students struggling with food insecurity were less likely to eat fruits and vegetables and more likely to consume energy drinks and sugar-sweetened beverages.

The Fresno State Food Security Project was launched in November 2014 with a goal to support Fresno State students experiencing food insecurity or other health and nutrition challenges. In addition to the Student Cupboard, the project provides students with outreach and application assistance for CalFresh, which provides financial assistance for food purchases for low-income Californians.

“Unfortunately, the rate of food insecurity increased dramatically since this program started, from 31% in 2014 to 44.7% in 2021. Therefore, we decided to develop a multidisciplinary team to investigate different aspects of food insecurity,” Pooya said. ” … Knowledge deficit is one of the main issues among food insecure communities as evidenced by their food choices.”

Program Highlights

The USDA-funded study will focus on providing a comprehensive nutrition intervention program that includes:

  • Guided grocery store tours focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Ongoing nutrition education sessions supporting the information provided during the guided grocery store tours.
  • “Nutrition prescriptions,” a suggested strategy to increase consumption of healthy foods including fruits and vegetables and decrease consumption of unhealthy foods, especially saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, and added sugar, and “incentive boxes” also will support what students learn in the grocery store tours and nutritional educational programs.
  • Genetic tests for non-alcoholic fatty liver, obesity, and type 2 diabetes to investigate genetic variations that may be associated with diseases.

The study will provide an opportunity for the student participants to identify existing diet-related health problems, improve their self-awareness and knowledge of nutrition, and ultimately lead to a decrease in medical care costs while improving their health prospects.

Four undergraduate and two graduate students will assist with marketing, leading the grocery store tours, creating recipes and cookbooks, and data collection, Pooya said.

The student participants will be divided into two groups, the experimental group whose participants will receive all the instructional services and weekly baskets of fresh fruits and vegetables from Save Mart, and a control group, she said.

The study’s objectives include participants eating one more serving daily of fruits and vegetables measured by their HealthWatch 360 score by the program’s end. HealthWatch 360 is a mobile app through which students will report their diet, lifestyle, and health data, which will be accessible to researchers for the study. The platform is HIPPA-compliant, which means that students’ health information will remain confidential.

By the end of the study, the participants should be able to select fruits and vegetables that are good sources of vitamins and fiber, and also be able to demonstrate how they cook with those healthy foods.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

DON'T MISS

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

DON'T MISS

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

DON'T MISS

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

DON'T MISS

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

DON'T MISS

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

DON'T MISS

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

DON'T MISS

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

DON'T MISS

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

DON'T MISS

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

UP NEXT

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

UP NEXT

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have To Execute It’: FUSD Board President

UP NEXT

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

UP NEXT

Full Jury and 6 Alternates Seated in Trump’s Hush Money Trial

UP NEXT

Barbara Corcoran: 1% Interest Rate Drop Will Send Housing Prices ‘Through the Roof’

UP NEXT

Juror Dismissed From Trump Hush Money Trial. Prosecutors Seek to Hold Former President in Contempt

UP NEXT

Biden Backs House’s Aid Package for Ukraine, Israel While Speaker Johnson Battles to Retain Position

UP NEXT

Local Leaders Must Put Their Shoulders Into Making Fresno ‘Education City USA’

UP NEXT

EdSource Welcomes Fresno News Veteran Jim Boren to Its Board

UP NEXT

Myanmar’s Ousted Leader Suu Kyi Moved From Prison to House Arrest Due to Heat, Military Says

Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

2 days ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

2 days ago

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

2 days ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

3 days ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

3 days ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

3 days ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

3 days ago

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have To Execute It’: FUSD Board President

3 days ago

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

3 days ago

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

3 days ago

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

Did you know that SNAP EBT benefits used to be called food stamps and that recipients can use those benefits to get healthy food in places o...

1 day ago

1 day ago

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

1 day ago

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

2 days ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

2 days ago

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

2 days ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

2 days ago

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

3 days ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

3 days ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend