Central Coast, Calif.- Fruits and vegetables are being prescribed by some doctors as a cure. It's all to combat America's obesity problem. It's a program going on right now in New York City, where the city's health department said the number of kids who actually eat their fruits and vegetables is staggering. But with a booming ag industry locally, could we ever see something like this here? We went to find out how doctors are actually writing these prescriptions.
Shoppers at farmers markets, tell us it would be very helpful to get a prescription for fruits and vegetables. They said it would lower their grocery bill, while helping the farmers who grow locally.
"It would be great for the farmers. The more people that have access to produce the better," said farmers market vendor Jessica Garrett.
Garrett said she always tries to educate her customers on what's fresh and available depending on the season. That's something New York City is trying to do by partnering up with a Connecticut-based non-profit called Wholesome Wave, to provide low income patients at-risk for obesity, with access to fruits a vegetables. It's something shoppers said they'd like to see locally.
"There's an over abundance of medication in this country to take care of problems that healthy food could easily solve," said shopper Tayler Thompson.
It's similar to WIC, which provides low income pregnant woman, children and infants with access to healthy foods. But instead, Wholesome Wave said prescriptions are based on other factors like body mass index. Patients get a dollar a day to spend at local farmers markets. Dieticians said on average 30% of Californians report not eating the recommended amount of daily fruits and vegetables.
"It's been shown, over and over and over again with population groups that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower rate of heart disease, they have a lower rate of diabetes. It reduces the risk of certain kinds of cancers," said Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula registered dietician Barbara Quinn.
While doctors on the Central Coast don't write prescriptions for produce, the hospital said it's trying to encourage its employees and patients to take advantage of the fresh fruits and vegetables California has to offer. It's considering offering coupons to all patients to use as part of their discharge plan.