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Eating a healthy diet is important for managing diabetes. Although there are high rates of diabetes in low-income urban areas, these patients often have limited access to fruits and vegetables. The 15-week Fresh Prescription (Fresh Rx) program was designed to improve access and consumption of fruits and vegetables among low-income patients with diabetes in Detroit, MI. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a fruit and vegetable prescription program on changes in hemoglobin A1C (HbA(1)C), blood pressure (BP), and body mass index (BMI) in patients with diabetes in a randomized controlled trial at a federally qualified health center (FQHC). Patients randomized to the Fresh Rx group (n = 56) were allotted up to $80 ($10 for up to eight weeks) for purchase of produce from a farmers market based at the FQHC. The control group (n = 56) received standard treatment plus information on community resources to improve health. Outcomes were compared at baseline and within three months of program completion. There were no significant between-group differences for any of the outcomes at program completion (p > .05); however, there was a small effect size for HbA1c (partial η(2) = 0.02). Within the Fresh Rx group, HbA1c significantly decreased from 9.64% to 9.14% (p = 0.006). However, no changes were noted within the control group (9.38 to 9.41%, p = 0.89). BMI and BP did not change from pre- to post-study in either group (p > .05). Results from this study offer preliminary evidence that produce prescription programs may reduce HbA(1)C in low-income patients with diabetes.

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