In a new program to increase access to healthy foods and improve nutrition, doctors will be able to prescribe vouchers for fruits and vegetables to low-income, high-risk patients who need to change their diet for their health.
As reported by Gothamist, the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program is in its pilot stage, launching at Harlem Hospital and the Bronx’s Lincoln Medical Center.
Conceived by Michel Nischan and his incredible Wholesome Wave team, the patients receive the equivalent in coupons of a dollar per day for each person in their family for at least four months. In addition to receiving nutrition counseling, the participants’ weight and body mass index will also be monitored by their doctors.
The ‘Healthy Bucks’ are valid at 142 farmers’ markets across the city.
The new program helps more than just the patients. For doctors, it means being able to influence the nutrition of their patients in a more positive, effective way than suggesting changes. For patients and their families, the chance to afford fresh, seasonal produce. For farmers, it means more business, and continually increasing business as patients bring along their families. If the 140 pilot patients successfully lower their obesity after four months, the city will look to expand the program to other low-income neighborhoods throughout Manhattan.
It’s just another step in the right direction to assist those who might not have easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables and this program proves every step counts.
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