Fresh Food as Medicine

Access to good food as a preventive medicine is beginning to take place in Washington D.C. The industry is starting to realize that there is a flaw in the health care system. Citizens of the U.S. with low level incomes are stuck running in a circle. They do not have access to healthy fresh fruits and vegetables because of their financial hardships. Because they are sometimes trapped into buying say, McDonald’s every day, they develop or provoke diseases such as diabetes and obesity. They are then prescribed certain medicines to maintain the illness but yet they do not have the funds to purchase their prescriptions or use the proper dosage. Although a lot of them get food stamps, they lack a location to keep their fresh food, such as a fridge. Now a days it is becoming crucial for health care to figure out ways to help manage people’s illnesses under their difficult circumstances.

The health industry is starting to see their new responsibility to certain patients. Learning about food insecurities is not typically in a doctor’s training but it is starting to become really important. New programs are beginning to take off to serve chronically ill, low-income people, such as SNAP and WIC. They are trying to get smarter about how to address these issues at the clinic level.

Some other ideas professionals have are to give out healthy food directly at the doctor’s office to patients with food insecurity such as olive oil and nuts. Other strategies include giving out healthy food “prescriptions”to low income children and families.Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit to establish the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, enables teams of doctors, nurses, and nutritional educators who prescribe vouchers. These vouches can be redeemed for free produce at farmer’s markets. Data shows the program has been effective in increasing fruit and vegetable consumption which reduces body mass index among overweight and obese people.

It’s wonderful to see the health industry noting their responsibility to give the best care options possible to every type of patient. Healthy food is cheaper than medicine and a better prevention of chronic illnesses. Not only is this being socially responsible to their low-income patients, it is also the in health care industries self interest since the food is cheaper than the medicines, this would be a big savings for them!

 

CNN

The Atlantic

 

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