Fact Sheet Access to Healthy Food and Flexible Health Education in Rural Mississippi
University of Mississippi
Emma Fernandez, Julio Salas, Kassandra Martinchek
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In 2020, the Walmart Foundation awarded grants to 11 community-based projects offering innovative approaches to supporting healthy food access. The grants focused on initiatives that improve access to fresh foods for regions and populations experiencing disproportionately high rates of food insecurity. The University of Mississippi, one of the 11 grantees, focused on addressing food insecurity and chronic health conditions among rural and predominately Black communities in the South by improving access to produce.

Key features of the initiative included the provision of food prescription boxes (produce provided regularly to participants with chronic illness experiencing food insecurity) or one-to-one dollar matches for purchases of fresh produce at a local grocery store paired with nutrition and health counseling. We found that improving access to produce may help people experiencing food insecurity better manage chronic health conditions. Preliminary analysis of biometric data by the University of Mississippi indicates that participants had lower blood pressure levels, triglycerides, and total cholesterol, but more data and time are needed to determine the longer-term impact.


Research Areas Social safety net
Tags Emergency food networks Food insecurity and hunger Hunger and food assistance
Policy Centers Income and Benefits Policy Center Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population Health Policy Center Research to Action Lab
Research Methods Qualitative data analysis
States Mississippi
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