Doctors write prescriptions for locally grown produce

July 24, 2013 at 10:45 AM
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NEW YORK, July 24 (UPI) -- New York City physicians are writing prescriptions for their overweight and obese patients who are children to get locally grown produce from farmer's markets.

The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program involves a primary care physician and nutritionist meeting with each participant monthly to discuss and reinforce the importance of healthy eating.

During each healthcare visit, the participant receives a prescription redeemable only for locally grown produce and valued at $1 per day per family member.

The pilot program is being conducted at the Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx and Harlem Hospital Center in Manhattan.

"A food environment full of processed foods full of fat, sugar and salt is contributing to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and other chronic diseases," Dr. Thomas Farley, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health, said in a statement.

"The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription 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."

The New York City program is part of Wholesome Wave, a non-profit group that works with local farmers and healthcare providers to increase access to fresh produce to underserved communities in 28 states.

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