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NYC Allows Doctors to Prescribe Fruits and Veggies Instead of Pills

Elizabeth Renter
July 31st, 2013
Updated 05/07/2014 at 6:59 pm
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medical doctor fruit 263x164 NYC Allows Doctors to Prescribe Fruits and Veggies Instead of PillsJust last week, Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley announced the Fruit 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 than a big government handout to junk food manufacturers 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 up health care 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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  • anth

    we will have to see how long this program last before it get to big or healthy and then starts to get gets the ax.

  • Essay

    What a great idea! Of course, it doesn't fits to every situation, but still…

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  • Bessy

    Great idea to eat more fruits & veggies, especially raw, green and organic, but VERY BAD IDEA to form a mental association with medical prescriptions for foods and nutrition. First of all, doctors are completely unqualified to do this as they are not even trained in nutrition. Secondly, this is a forerunner to the implementation of Codex Alimentarius.

  • Jay

    I am with Lalita. SNAP is access to food for people born without a silver spoon on their plate. Also, food all costs the same for the rich as for the poor. so, in other words, food costs substantially more for people with less. Economic inequality is the key issue here. and- not one word about LOCAL or ORGANIC food. THIS article makes me sick!

  • Liam

    This is a great scheme. While Food Stamps can be redeemed for any type of food, this scheme will remove the temptation to get junk food, and keeps healthy eating to the forefront in peoples minds.
    If everyone sowed an apple tree in their back garden or in Public Parks etc then there would be a lot more to go around. It is surprising how much a tree can produce after a few years and a little TLC!!!

  • Jess

    Food stamps CAN buy healthy foods, but people with food stamps don't use them to do so.

    • Lalita

      not so Jess…..many people on food stamps buy healthy foods….very biased remark!