Fruits and vegetables are just what the doctor ordered at two NYC hospitals. Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx and Harlem Hospital Center have joined the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, an initiative that brings access to fresh produce to overweight and obese residents.
In the program, organized by non-profit Wholesome Wave and GrowNYC, qualified patients receive $1 in Health Bucks per day for each family member for a period of at least 4 months. Patients have monthly check-ups with their physician to get their prescriptions renewed, their BMI recorded, and receive nutritional counseling. Patients can then spend their Health Bucks on fresh, local produce.
Some residents are already seeing positive results. Tammy Futch, of the Bronx, says, “My son lost 40 pounds [being on] this program and also I lost weight doing it with him. … I have four other kids also doing the program.”
Not only is the program helping patients and their health, but it’s giving local farmers a boost, as well. Health Bucks can be spent at 140 different farmers markets in the city. The FVRx program helps boost farmers’ revenue, which in turn supports the community. Wholesome Wave has found that 53% of participating families have visited the farmers market more than 8 times in their program period. Market Manager, Kayla Ringelheim, stated that the program “helped transform the Woonsocket market into one that was vibrant and economically viable for participating farmers.”
The FVRx program is currently spreading the health in several New England cities.
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