breaking news
  • PM Modi checks on Sonia Gandhi during brief conversation in Parliament
  • On camera: Congress leader's son assaults student in Punjab, state chief lauds act
  • Who is George Soros and what is his link to Adani Group's troubles?
  • After Aerial Drones, Seaborne Drug Trafficking By Narco Subs: The New Challenge Ahead
  • Manipur is on the Edge: Here's How It can be Stabilised
  • 'The devil has been in our way': GOP lawmaker accuses Biden admin of covering up UFOs

View Details

The South Asian Insider

Fruit and vegetable prescription by doctors could help increase nutrition levels

As part of produce prescription programs in the US, doctors are able to prescribe subsidised fruits and vegetables. A study found that adults at risk for heart disease had reduced blood pressure and body mass index. "Prescribing" fruits and vegetables to adults and children has been associated with an increased consumption of these foods, according to a new study. The analysis, published in the American Heart Association's peer-reviewed journal Circulation, observed that people who participated in the study had a lowered risk of heart disease. As part of produce prescription programs in the US, doctors are able to prescribe subsidised fruits and vegetables. Patients receive electronic cards or vouchers to access free or discounted produce of their choice at retail grocery or farmers' markets, explained study lead author Kurt Hager at UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts. Adults at risk for heart disease who participated in producing prescription programs for an average of six months increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables and had reduced blood pressure, body mass index and blood sugar levels. Among adults and children, produce prescription programs also appeared to decrease food insecurity, the lack of equitable and stable availability, access, affordability and consumption of healthy foods and drinks, and improve self-reported health status. "We know that food insecurity impacts health through several important pathways, including overall dietary quality, but also through stress and anxiety, mental health and tradeoffs between paying for food and other basic needs such as housing costs, utilities and medications," said Hager. "These results indicate produce prescriptions may lay an important foundation for improved health and well-being," he added. Study participants received a median of $63 per month to purchase produce at local stores and farmers' markets. They also attended nutrition classes. At the beginning and after completing the program, from 4 to 10 months, participants completed questionnaires about fruit and vegetable consumption, food insecurity and health status. Routine testing of blood pressure, weight and height, and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) - a measure of blood sugar - was completed at enrollment and at the conclusion of the program. The analysis found that blood sugar, as measured by HbA1C levels, decreased by 0.29 to 0.58 percentage points among adults with diabetes."Poor nutrition and nutrition insecurity are major drivers of chronic disease globally, including cardiometabolic conditions like Type 2 diabetes and their cardiovascular consequences, including heart failure, heart attack and stroke," according to Mitchell Elkind, chief clinical science officer of the American Heart Association. Elkind highlighted that this analysis of produce prescription programs illustrates the potential of subsidised produce prescriptions to increase consumption of nutritious fruits and vegetables, reduce food insecurity and, hopefully, improve subjective and objective health measures.