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Qualitative Research in Phoenix, AZ, Exploring Support for Public–Private Partnerships to Expand the Reach of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

      Abstract

      Background

      Fruit and vegetable (F/V) consumption among school-aged children falls short of current recommendations. The development of public–private partnerships (PPPs) has been suggested as an effective approach to address a number of public health concerns, including inadequate F/V consumption. The US Department of Agriculture's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) provides F/V as snacks at least twice per week in low-income elementary schools. In addition to increasing F/V consumption behaviors at school, children participating in the FFVP make more requests for F/V in grocery stores and at home, suggesting the impact of the program extends beyond school settings.

      Objective

      This study explored the potential for establishing successful PPPs between schools and food retailers to promote the sales of F/V in low-income communities.

      Design

      Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with participants from 4 groups of stakeholders.

      Participants/setting

      Grocery store and produce managers from 10 grocery stores, FFVP personnel from 5 school districts and 12 schools, and parents of children attending 3 different FFVP-participating schools, all in the Phoenix, AZ, metropolitan area participated in interviews and focus groups.

      Statistical analyses performed

      Data were analyzed using a directed content analysis approach to examine benefits, barriers, and strategies for developing a PPP.

      Results

      Key perceived benefits of creating a PPP included the potential to increase store sales, to enhance public relations with the community, and to extend the impact of the FFVP to settings outside of schools. Barriers included offering expensive produce through the FFVP and the potential lack of communication among partners. Strategies for developing a PPP included using seasonal produce and having clear instructions for teachers and staff. Parents reported their children requesting more F/V as a result of FFVP participation.

      Conclusions

      Stakeholders support forming PPPs. Partnerships between FFVP schools and retailers can be mutually beneficial and have a positive impact on children and their families.

      Key Words

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      Biography

      J. Gruner is director of community innovations, Pinnacle Prevention, Chandler, AZ; at the time of study, she was a doctoral candidate, Arizona State University, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Phoenix.

      Biography

      R. S. DeWeese is a research assistant professor, Arizona State University, College of Health Solutions, Phoenix.

      Biography

      M. Bruening is an associate professor, Arizona State University, College of Health Solutions, Phoenix.

      Biography

      P. Ohri-Vachaspati is a professor, Arizona State University, College of Health Solutions, Phoenix.

      Biography

      B. Evans is a professor, Edson College of Nursing & Health Innovation, Phoenix, AZ.

      Biography

      M. Acosta-Ortiz, is a program coordinator, SNAP-Ed Food Systems, Phoenix, AZ.

      Biography

      K. Mollner is a community dietitian, Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Phoenix, AZ.

      Biography

      G. Lacagnina is a food systems coordinator, Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Office of Community Health Innovation, Phoenix, AZ.