Prescriptions for Fruit and Vegetables
|July 27, 2013||Posted by The Fit Scoop under Uncategorized|
A new program launched in NYC last week in which doctors are prescribing fruit and vegetables to obese and overweight patients. Called the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, the program partners with doctors to prescribe patients in at-risk families “Health Bucks” that are redeemable for fresh produce at local farmers markets. The program benefits the patients by making fresh produce more affordable and benefits small and mid-sized farmers by increasing their business.
The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program began in 2011 in a few select pilot cities and has expanded since then. Program data from 2012 shows that 37.8% of children in the program reduced their BMI. The program is administered by primary care providers that meet with patients and their families once a month for nutrition counseling and prescription distribution. Physicians keep track of patient’s BMI and fruit and vegetable consumption, and they set healthy eating goals for the patients each month. The vouchers are accepted at over 140 farmers markets in NYC.
Obesity researchers and public health officials often cite the high cost of fresh produce for contributing to the nation’s weight problems. Programs like this one are one way of making produce more accessible to lower-income families, while also providing an economic stimulus to local farmers.