A Cluster-Randomized Evaluation of the SuperShelf Intervention in Choice-Based Food Pantries.

University of Connecticut, Department of Allied Health Sciences, Storrs, CT, USA. University of Connecticut, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Health, Hartford, CT, USA. University of Minnesota, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Minneapolis, MN, USA. HealthPartners, Bloomington, MN, USA. University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics, St. Paul, MN, USA. University of Minnesota, Division of Biostatistics, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. 2024;(2):100-110

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BACKGROUND Interventions in food pantry settings have the potential to improve health among clients at risk of diet-related disease. PURPOSE This study evaluates whether a cluster-randomized, behavioral intervention in food pantries resulted in improved client outcomes. METHODS Sixteen Minnesota food pantries were randomized to an intervention (n = 8) or control condition (n = 8). The intervention offered pantries technical assistance to improve healthy food supply and implement behavioral economics strategies to promote healthy food selection. A convenience sample of adult clients were enrolled (paired sample, 158 intervention, 159 control) and followed for 1 year. Additional clients were enrolled at follow-up to assess food selection (follow-up sample, 85 intervention, 102 control). Analysis was limited to data from 11 pantries (5 intervention, 6 control) due to COVID-19. Outcome measures included Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015) total and subcomponent scores for 24-hr dietary recalls and client cart selections, and Life's Simple 7 (LS7) total and subcomponent scores. Multilevel mixed-effects models tested whether client outcomes differed by intervention condition. RESULTS In adjusted models, there were no statistically significant differences by intervention condition in HEI-2015 or LS7 scores. Clients in intervention food pantries had improved Refined Grain subcomponent scores (p = .004); clients in control pantries had worsened Saturated Fat subcomponents scores (p = .019) and improved physical activity scores (p = .007). CONCLUSIONS The intervention did not result in improved diet quality or cardiovascular health as measured by HEI-2015 or LS7. Coordinated efforts across settings are needed to address health risks facing this population.

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Publication Type : Randomized Controlled Trial