By Lacy Hansen for Diets In Review
If you’re like me, you grow quickly irritated with how our country treats illnesses and symptoms with pills for ‘this’ and ‘that,’ yet we never prescribe preventative care. The result? A lot of unhealthy people on expensive medications they can’t afford, medicines that could have been avoided entirely in many cases had proper nutrition and care been followed.
Finally, there’s some good news. And it isn’t news that some higher-ups are talking about making some changes, but that real, tangible changes are currently taking place in our health care system.
Wholesome Wave, a non-profit organization, is funded through private donations. Those donations supply the new Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx). The FVRx program is available through a doctor’s prescription that requires fresh fruit and vegetables. FVRx provides $1 daily subsidies for the purchase of produce at local farmers’ markets. These subsidies are extended to each member of a family, so a family of five would receive $35 a week for fresh produce. How awesome is that?
Additionally, when a patient is receiving produce from the FVRx, they must meet with their doctors for regular check-ups. These check-ups include a check of weight, blood pressure and BMI, and recipients receive exercise and cooking classes, too.
Physicians are prescribing “Fresh Fruit and Vegetables” at 12 sites so far. Seven states and the District of Columbia are involved in this program, which has been active since 2010 and reportedly has helped over 1,000 people buy nutritious food.
Michel Nischan is the CEO of Wholesome Wave. He shared with CNN’s “Eatocracy” column why he feels the FVRx program is so vital to our nation’s health. Nischan believes the program will end up saving our healthcare system money. This belief comes from the truth that if people eat more healthfully, they will be less likely to suffer from chronic conditions. Previously, fresh produce was skipped by those in financial hardships due to the cost and availability. But Nischan points out that the cost of produce is much less than the prescriptions and treatments a poor diet can lead to.
A small step in the right direction, thank goodness! Hopefully this program will continue to grow and Americans will be enjoying better health through better food – not through more medication.