Intervention Study of Cost-Offset Community Supported Agriculture (CO-CSA)

2016-05-13 00:08:23 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to better understand how participation in cost-subsidized community supported agriculture programs paired with tailored education can affect diet quality and energy balance among children in low-income families.


Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is an innovative approach to increasing consumer access to and consumption of fresh produce, thereby lowering obesity prevalence. However, CSA "share" costs may be a barrier for low-income families with children. This multistate study examines whether subsidizing the cost of CSAs, integrated with tailored education: 1) increases consumption of fruits and vegetables, 2) substitutes fruits and vegetables for more energy-dense foods, and 3) improves overall diet quality and energy balance, thus helping children maintain healthy body weights. It also investigates how cost-offset CSAs ("CO-CSAs") contribute to local agricultural economies. Given the well-documented risk for obesity and limited access to fresh produce among low-income individuals, those families are the target of the intervention in four geographically-diverse states: Vermont, New York, North Carolina and Washington.

FORMATIVE AND LONGITUDINAL RESEARCH: Qualitative and quantitative research is being used to inform implementation of the randomized trial, refine outcome assessment strategies, and provide information needed to design a tailored curriculum to enhance low-income families' knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors related to the use of CSA produce and healthy eating.

In the first year of the study, the investigators conducted interviews and focus groups with stakeholders to gather in-depth data related to the potential of CO-CSA operations to meet the needs and preferences of low-income households and the types of information that would be most valuable to include in the study's curriculum. Key stakeholder groups included adults and children from low-income households, CSA farmers, current full-paying CSA members, and nutrition educators.

The investigators also are conducting a longitudinal quantitative examination of dietary behaviors among current CO-CSA participants in an existing statewide program in Vermont. Using online surveys, the investigators are measuring dietary outcomes quarterly among children, and biannually among adults, from low-income households in the program. Data from Year 1 was used to inform the intervention, while data from subsequent time points will provide an opportunity for analysis of longitudinal patterns.

RANDOMIZED INTERVENTION: In the second phase of the project, the investigators will implement and evaluate a three-year delayed intervention randomized controlled trial of CO-CSA plus skill-based, CSA-tailored education in the four states. The investigators will compare changes in dietary behaviors, reported consumption, energy intake, and weight status parameters between children aged 2-12 in 120 control and 120 intervention families. Participant families will receive a CO-CSA share for two seasons and education during their first CO-CSA season (Y1 for intervention families and Y2 for control families). In addition to outcomes with participants, investigators will conduct economic analysis to evaluate the impact of CO-CSA for farms and communities. While these analyses are not related to the human participants, they are central to the overall project goals.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Prevention


Pediatric Obesity


CO-CSA plus Nutrition Education


New York
United States




Cornell University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2016-05-13T00:08:23-0400

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