My fair city may have lost the battle against oversized sodas. (For the time being, at least.) But those of us who are committed to restoring the health of our denizens are still fighting the war against obesity and diabetes.
And for once, I’m happy to report a pretty thrilling victory for our side.
Get a load of this: At the end of July, NYC launched a brand-new Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program. No, that’s not a typo. And yes, it’s every bit as fantastic as it sounds.
This program is the offshoot of a larger initiative designed to give more low-income New Yorkers access to fresh, local produce. Through it, physicians can now prescribe “Health Bucks” to overweight and obese patients. These vouchers are redeemable at over 100 farmers markets in the city.
Patients in this program receive a dollar per family member every day for at least four months to spend on fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Every month, patients renew their “prescriptions” during a hospital check-in, where they receive a weight assessment and nutritional counseling to encourage their progress.
To which I say… FINALLY. I cannot tell you how long I’ve been waiting to see more programs just like this one.
I’ve been complaining about the urgent need for greater access to fresh food—especially among lower income citizens—for years now. And it’s past time government health officials got their acts together and made it happen.
But, well… better late than never. I mean, prescription produce?? And from the local Farmers Market, too???
Now that’s an Rx I can get behind every time.
O’Marra, Katharine. “NYC doctors are now prescribing fruits and veggies.” www.npr.org. 24 July 2013.