Just last week, Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley announced theFruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, which actually allows doctors in the NYC area to give at-risk families better access to local produce. The program allows them to prescribe fruit and vegetables!

Obese and overweight patients and their families can be given “Health Bucks”. These can be redeemed at more than 140 NYC farmers markets. They are essentially free vouchers for truly better health.

“We’re not only teaching them just about eating healthy,” said Dr. Shefali Khanna with Lincoln Medical Center. “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.”

The program gives patients $1 in Health Bucks each day for each member of their family over a period of four months. For a family of four, that’s about $120 each month in fruits and veggies. Considering these at risk families are often limited to bodegas in the city and the food stamp system that essentially subsidizes junk food makers, $120 in produce can go a long way.

Related Read: Health Benefits of 60+ Foods

As Natural News reports, the federal “food stamp” program, more accurately called SNAP, feeds more than 100 million Americans—the same Americans who are most at risk for preventable lifestyle-related diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

“The SNAP program is nothing more thana big government handout to junkfoodmanufacturers and soda companies. That’s because food stamp money can be spent on all the processed junk foods and sodas that make people sick and diseased with conditions like diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease and more. Through SNAP,the federal government is subsidizing the foods that cause sickness!Obviously, this also drives uphealthcare costs and deeply harms the overall U.S. economy.”

While eliminating these subsidies would be a major (but worthwhile) undertaking, merely supplementing the federal food program with something like the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program would be a huge step in the right direction.

In the upside-down world we live in, the Food and Drug Administration won’t admit that foods are a significant part of illness and disease prevention or treatment, and doctors are more apt to give you pills than healthful eating and lifestyle tips. In this world, it’s not often we see officials taking a progressive step towards natural health and away from our overdependence on Big Pharma. However, sometimes it does happen, and in New York City, it’s happening now.

And while Big Pharma and corporations involved in the junk food industries would love nothing more than a population fed off a steady diet of pills and processed foods, the largest city in the nation (and global leader itself) is taking a stand for natural health and true wellness. Here’s hoping they are only the first in many more to come.

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'NYC Allows Doctors to Prescribe Fruits and Veggies Instead of Pills' has 1 comment

  1. August 1, 2013 @ 12:47 pm Daniel

    “While eliminating these subsidies would be a major (but worthwhile) undertaking, merely supplementing the federal food program with something like the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program would be a huge step in the right direction.”

    This article is extremely misleading. You’re arguing that the federal SNAP program, which is feeding more hungry and in need Americans than ever in history should be dismantled because participants have an OPTION to buy soda and processed foods with their benefits? That’s absurd and you provide absolutely ZERO factual basis for your conclusion.

    Federally funded state issued food stamps (EBT) can be used to pay for almost any grocery item that isn’t either heated (so it can’t be used at restaurants) or alcoholic (for obvious reasons.

    While these supplemental “health bucks” that NY state has introduced are most certainly a good thing (and should be extended to the needy as well as the obese in my opinion). They are not antithetical to basic food-aid programs such as SNAP, and should not be viewed or portrayed as such.

    Futhermore, limiting a persons choice as to what brands and types of food someone can buy with food benefits is both unfairly controlling the diet of someone in need, and giving an unfair advantage to whichever products are deemed acceptable (by whom?) for SNAP benefits. This also creates a double standard whereby people with money are allowed more choice in food shopping than those in need.

    But yeah, let’s get rid of SNAP benefits because you CAN buy Doritos with them. Great plan.


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