Prescribed veggies? Why not ?
Deputy Major Linda Gibbs announced that the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program is now a reality in NYC. She made the announcement along with Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. This program will allow practitioners in the NYC to provide families considered at-risk families, an easier access to locally grown fruits and vegetables. Doctors are able to do this by prescribing local produce instead of medication.
Through the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, obese patients and their families will be presented with "Health Bucks". The program will allow them to redeem the health bucks at over 140 farmers markets in New York City. To put it in simple terms, these bucks are basically free vouchers meant to be beneficial to patients health.
Dr. Shefali Khanna with the Lincoln Medical Center says, "We’re not only teaching them just about eating healthy. This is really an investment for the future. And we hope we have a whole generation of kids who benefit from this, and reaches adulthood at a healthy optimal weight.”
The program consists in giving $1 in Health Bucks every day to all the at-risk family members during 4 months. So to put this in perspective we can say that for a family of four people they would be getting $120 every month in healthy produce.
The current "food stamp" program, called SNAP, is active for more than 100 million Americans. Unfortunately, there is no control over what types of food can be exchanged for the food stamps and a lot of it ends up being junk food that has been blamed for the unhealthy lifestyles they are leading. These food stamps feed people who are at risk of heart disease or type 2 diabetes and only make the condition worse.
Many Americans share the following thought: “The SNAP program is nothing more than a big government handout to junk food manufacturers and soda companies. That’s because food stamp money can be spent on all the processed junk foods and sodas that make people sick and diseased with conditions like diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease and more. Through SNAP, the federal government is subsidizing the foods that cause sickness! Obviously, this also drives up health care costs and deeply harms the overall U.S. economy.”
The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program is a great first step for a healthier diet that can serve as a supplement to the SNAP program. Eliminating subsidies of junk food would be extremely beneficial to the population, especially the upcoming generations. The FDA has not openly admitted that a huge part of what triggers illnesses in people is the food they eat and doctors will just stuff you up with pills. A change is needed and it is needed now and this new initiative is a great place to start.