There is extensive evidence that shows that poor nutrition is associated with a set of non-communicable diseases, which today constitute the main cause of death. Currently in Argentina, excess weight affects all age groups, with a prevalence of 66.1% in the adult population, 13.6% in children under 5 years of age, and 41.1% in the 5 to 17 age group.
These figures are accompanied by inadequate eating habits, identifying wide food and nutritional gaps, due to deficit or excess, between current and recommended consumption. One of the main food shortcomings in Argentina is the low consumption of fruits and vegetables. According to the National Survey of Risk Factors (ENFR 20 18) only 6% of the population consumes the recommended portion of fruits and vegetables.
The evidence shows that adolescents from the lowest socioeconomic level are 31% more likely to be overweight than those from the highest socioeconomic level. Indeed, poverty has been identified as a condition closely associated with food insecurity.
The implementation of nudges has been endorsed as a potentially effective strategy to promote healthy individual behaviors.
In this way, it seeks to develop a pilot study based on behavioral sciences with the purpose of increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables in community kitchens. To this end, the study will focus on:
-Design a set of interventions using behavioral tools such as altering the framing of the alternatives offered or promoting positive effects by peers to overcome the biases of status quo and social norms.
-Evaluate and compare the impact of the different interventions on the consumption of fruits and vegetables of the population attending community kitchens and picnic areas in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area.
-Evaluate and compare the impact of the different interventions on the appetitiveness of fruits and vegetables in the population attending community kitchens and picnic areas in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area.
-Prepare a series of recommendations, based on the results obtained in the experimental evaluation, to improve the eating habits of its beneficiaries.
The way in which fruits and vegetables are presented (framing) together with the prominence of information about their health benefits will increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables in community kitchens.
The intervention will be carried out on the cooks and their way of presenting the food and in the environments where the food is provided (physical spaces). 9 community kitchens from the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires (AMBA) will be selected. The final selection of the soup kitchens will be made in conjunction with the National Food Safety Program, trying to select those soup kitchens where the largest number of people attend.
The total number of canteens that make up our sample will be divided into three different groups for the purpose of carrying out the experimental analysis: 1⁄3 of the canteens will make up a control group (they will not receive any intervention), 1⁄3 of them will receive an intervention based on the framing principle -specifically, the presentation of fruits and vegetables will be arranged in a friendlier way-, while the remaining 1⁄3 of the canteens will receive a multiple intervention that contemplates both the framing and the prominence of the information, In this case, the presentation of fruits and vegetables will be arranged in a friendlier way, as well as messages about the consumption of fruits and vegetables and their health benefits (referring to the consumption habits of the population). The assignment of the canteens to each of these three groups will be done randomly, but it will be ensured that there is a minimum distance between them and that they do not share all or part of the staff in charge, to avoid a possible group contamination.
1. Appetitiveness of the consumption of fruits and vegetables in the beneficiary population.
2. Number of servings consumed.
The impact of the intervention will be evaluated using the difference-in-differences method, based on the measurements obtained for the treatment and control groups. The implicit assumptions will be analyzed to ensure the comparability of the treatment and control groups, and an attempt will be made to quantify and identify the difference in the proportion of fruits and vegetables consumed that can be attributed to the intervention carried out.
Who is behind the project?
What is the project about?
23 February 2023