Farmers Markets: The New Apothecary

Prescriptions for pills are being replaced with prescriptions for fruits and veggies -- at least in Massachusetts. The New York Times reports:

Doctors at three health centers in Massachusetts have begun advising patients to eat “prescription produce” from local farmers’ markets, in an effort to fight obesity in children of low-income families. Now they will give coupons amounting to $1 a day for each member of a patient’s family to promote healthy meals.

Massachusetts is serious about this campaign to promote farmers' markets as a preventative health measure. The pilot project plans to enroll 50 families at the three health centers and doctors participating are tracking participants "to determine how the program affects their eating patterns and to monitor health indicators like weight and body mass index."

They've already had success, too:

One month after Leslie-Ann Ogiste, a certified nursing assistant in Boston, and her 9-year-old son, Makael Constance, received their first vegetable prescription vouchers at the Codman Center, they have lost a combined four pounds, she said. A staff member at the center told Ms. Ogiste about a farmers’ market that is five minutes from her apartment, she said.“It worked wonders,” said Ms. Ogiste, who bought and prepared eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, summer squash, corn, bok choy, parsley, carrots and red onions. “Just the variety, it did help.”

What an awesome project! We can't wait to hear more about it.

image via Jodi Hilton/NY Times

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