CHIVES Research Program

Improving diets through increased fruit and vegetable consumption significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Programs increasing the accessibility and affordability of healthy food among low-income Americans have been hindered by the food consumption cycle associated with poverty: the tendency to over-consume calories shortly after receiving funds at the beginning of each month, draining the budget for fresh produce purchases, or for all food purchases, by month’s end. Increasing food assistance funding alone does not resolve this problem, but an emerging theory about dietary behavior suggests that providing funds for food in smaller installments distributed throughout the month will smooth the consumption cycle and improve healthy eating—counteracting the tendency to respond to lump sum, once-monthly funding installments by purchasing calorie-dense foods immediately after funds are received.

CHIVES (Coupons for Healthy Intake using Variable Economic Strategies), a 5-year NIH-funded research study led by Dr. Sanjay Basu of Stanford University and Dr. Hilary Seligman of UCSF, is testing this emerging theory about dietary behavior through a partnership with the EatSF voucher program. CHIVES is comparing whether targeted vouchers valid for fruits and vegetables or untargeted vouchers valid for any CalFresh-eligible items improve nutrition among low-income individuals. The study will also examine whether vouchers valid for an entire month are equally effective as vouchers valid for one week at a time.

CHIVES is enrolling participants through September 2017!

Participants are eligible to receive $20 of CHIVES food vouchers per month for 6 months if they:

  • Are at least 21 years old;
  • Have regular access to a mobile phone;
  • Live in San Francisco and plan to continue living here for the next year;
  • Have an income of ≤ 250% Federal Poverty Level; see if you meet income guidelines here;
  • Are not pregnant;
  • Do not have cancer or heart failure;
  • Feel comfortable with surveys in English;
  • Are not in another study of nutrition or diet;
  • Are not already receiving EatSF vouchers.

Want more info?

If you would like to know more or are interested in participating, please take a 5-minute survey here: to see if you qualify!

For general questions, please call (844) 4-CHIVES or (844) 424-4837,
or e-mail

Participant rights questions? Please call (866) 680-2906.

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