NYC Doctors Are Now Prescribing Fruits And Veggies | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

NYC Doctors Are Now Prescribing Fruits And Veggies

Doctors typically give patients prescriptions for medications. But a new program in New York City has doctors prescribing fruits and vegetables to obese or overweight patients.

Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley launched the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program Tuesday. It aims to give at-risk families greater access to healthy foods.

Under the program, obese or overweight patients can be prescribed Health Bucks redeemable for produce at local farmers markets.

Health Bucks are a part of the city's GrowNYC initiative to make locally grown produce available to low-income New Yorkers. The vouchers are accepted at more than 140 New York City farmers markets.

The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program is meant to benefit whole families and communities at a time. Patients in the program receive $1 in Health Bucks per day for each person in their family for a period of at least four months. Each month, patients check in with the hospital to have their prescriptions renewed, and their weight and body mass index evaluated. They also receive nutritional counseling.

Bronx resident Tammy Futch says her family has seen positive changes since starting the program.

"My son lost 40 pounds [being on] this program," she says, "and also I lost weight doing it with him. ... I have four other kids also doing the program."

The prescription program was started by Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit that connects low-income people with local, farm fresh foods. In 2011, the group piloted the program at sites in Massachusetts, Maine, California and Rhode Island. It has now expanded to seven states.

This summer, Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx and Harlem Hospital Center became the first New York State facilities to participate in the program.

Dr. Shefali Khanna, chief of pediatrics at Lincoln Medical Center, says she thinks the program will bring lasting benefits to the city.

"We're not only teaching them just about eating healthy," Khanna says. "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."

Stay tuned: Later this summer, we here at The Salt plan to follow a patient on the program to see how it works.

A version of this story originally appeared on member station WFUV's website.

Copyright 2013 WFUV-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wfuv.org.

NPR

From Sizzling Fajitas, To The Super Bowl, How Sounds Help Sell

Joel Beckerman is a composer who specializes in sonic branding. His new book is called The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy.
NPR

Sandwich Monday: The Primanti Bros. Pitts-burger

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try a sandwich from the famous Primanti Bros. of Pittsburgh.
NPR

A Tight Race Emerges To Fill Seat Left By Iowa's Sen. Harkin

Longtime Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin is retiring. Host Robert Siegel profiles the close midterm race to replace him and one voting group that could sway the election: women voters.
NPR

Tunisia's Emerging Tech Sector Hampered By Old Policies

When Tunisia's young people protested in 2011, they had one key demand: jobs. Now, despite new political leadership, that demand remains unmet — even in tech, the sector that offers the most promise.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.