Should Doctors Prescribe Fruit and Vegetables?

When doctors and health-care providers “prescribed” fruits and vegetables, patients ate more produce, lost weight and experienced significant reductions in blood pressure, according to a new study. “Produce prescriptions” are part of a growing effort in health care to provide food as medicine to potentially prevent or improve chronic health conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

In what is believed to be the largest study of these programs, researchers studied 3,881 people from low-income neighborhoods who received food vouchers through nine programs in a dozen states, from California to Florida. The participants received vouchers or cards worth $15 to $300 per month to buy more fruit and vegetables from farmers markets and grocery stores.

The research focused on how much produce adults and children ate before and after receiving the fruit and vegetable “prescription,” as well as measures of cardiovascular health, levels of food insecurity and their self-reported health status.

Excerpted from The Washington Post

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