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five a day

US doctors write prescriptions for vegetables

A non profit organisation in the US offers €1 dollar per day prescriptions to low income families so they can afford to buy their five a day.

DOCTORS AT SELECT clinics across American are writing patients prescriptions for fruit and vegetables.

Wholesome Wave, a non profit health food initiative in the US runs a ‘Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program’ through clinics and community centres offering $1 per day ‘prescriptions’ to subsidise the cost for families to eat more healthy food, CNN reports.

Families can use their prescriptions to buy produce at local farmers markets.

Spread across seven states, the program operates from private donations and targets areas where fresh produce may not always be available or is too expensive for families.

Each family member gets the $1 prescription so a family of five could receive up to $35 a week to spend on ensuring they get their five a day.

Wholesome Wave has patients meet with their doctors regularly to check their health including weight, blood pressure and body mass index. The program also offers classes in healthy cooking and exercise.

Testimonials on the Wholesome Wave website from health and nutrition centres praised the program for making eating healthy more economically viable for average families.

“Some of them had never eaten fresh fruits and vegetables before at all or very little and at least two others loved eating fresh fruits and vegetables but were no longer buying them because they couldn’t afford to,” said Sherie Blumenthal of St. Mary’s Nutrition Center in Maine.

CEO of Wholesome Wave Michael Nischan told CNN the program ultimately produces a saving for the healthcare system as well because if people are eating more healthily they are less likely to suffer from chronic conditions.

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