Eating Better for Less: A National Discount Program for Healthy Food Purchases in South Africa

American Journal of Health Behavior | January 2013

Background: Improving diet quality is a key health promotion strategy. The HealthyFood
program provides up to a 25% discount on selected food items to about 260,000 households across
South Africa.

Objectives: Examine whether reducing prices for healthy food purchases leads to changes in
self-reported measures of food consumption and weight status.

Methods: Repeated surveys of about 350,000 HealthyFood participants and nonparticipants.

Results: Program participation is associated with more consumption of fruits/vegetables and
wholegrain foods, and less consumption of high sugar/salt foods, fried foods, processed meats, and
fast-food. There is no strong evidence that participation reduces obesity.

Conclusions: A substantial price intervention might be effective in improving diets.

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