Fresh produce program gains momentum in weight-loss fight


Although small gains recently have been reported against the obesity epidemic among U.S. adults and children, obesity rates remain too high, experts say.

More doctors are writing prescriptions for a proven weight-loss treatment with no negative side effects — fresh vegetables and fruits.

The initiative, known as the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, was started by the Connecticut-based nonprofit Wholesome Wave in 2010. The organization aims to improve access and affordability of fresh, locally grown produce to underserved communities.

The program targets overweight and obese children and pregnant women. It requires that they use physician prescriptions that are redeemable for produce at a local farmer’s market.

On July 24, New York announced it is implementing the program at Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx and Harlem Hospital Center in Manhattan. It’s the first time the program will be available at a major hospital system, according to Wholesome Wave. The program also is being used at clinics in Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C.

The program “is a creative approach that … will enable at-risk patients to visit any of our 142 farmers markets and purchase the fruits and vegetables that will help them stay healthy,” said New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, MD, MPH. Read full article…

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