A common occurrence in many urban areas is for people to shop at local convenience stores which have notoriously poor food choices. Most of these shops carry processed foods and typical junk food options with not a single piece of fresh food to be found. This can be an issue for people who receive assistance in the form of food stamps.
In New York there is a new initiative aimed at bettering the health of families and particularly children who are overweight. The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program allows families to receive tokens that are used in local farmer’s markets the tokens can be redeemed for double the dollar amount of fresh fruits and vegetables.
There seems to be a slow return to using food as medicine and this community program is a great example of how people want to make good choices if they are given the education and ability to do so. On Twitter Jared Haftel added that the program has a few participating hospitals that offer advice, recipes, and the all-important “Health Bucks” that allow families access to farm-fresh produce.
New York is only one of about 30 states that offer similar healthy-eating initiatives to low-income families. The trend has been that offering assistance in this area produces measurable results in both decreasing body mass index levels of participating children as well as increased healthy food consumption of their respective families.