Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, known as FVRx, is a Wholesome Wave’s program that aims to provide fresh fruit and veggies to under-served communities by allowing to exchange healthcare prescriptions for local fresh fruit and vegetables.
Few years ago New York city embrace a program called “Fruit and Vegetables Prescription Program” which allows doctors to prescribe fresh fruits and vegetables to obese or overweight patients instead of medications.
This Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program or FVRx which is run by Wholesome Wave and is a nationally recognized program in which doctor or nutritionist gives prescriptions (fruit and vegetables) to obese patients. This patient’s receive so called Health Bucks (coupons from the HR Administration and the Health Department) which are after redeemed for fruit and veggies at any New York City farmer’s markets.
With this program, New York city officially acknowledge the role that fruit and vegetables have in preventing certain diseases, but, FDA is judging this program. According to them, fruit and vegetables, together with any supplement have no ability to cure and even treat any disease. By their explanation, if some food treat certain disease it automatically transforms into a drug and under their current regulations, NYC promotes “unapproved drugs”.
Previous NYC Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs together with Dr. Thomas A. Farley and Health and Hospitals Corporation President Alan D. approved the program for a four-month-long pilot and according to Wall Street Journal, this plot turned local farmers markets into pharmacies.
These program aims to increase access but also awareness of healthy foods. “Fruit and Vegetables Prescription Program” together with farmers market offers education both for adults and children, which is very important. This program also increase access and affordability of healthy foods, according to Laurie Tisch, President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, a Fund that made this program possible, providing a $250,000 grant.
For people to be able to participate in this program, they were first enrolled by their primary care provider who after introduces them to a nutritionist who establish a plan for their diet. Based on their eating habits and their body mass index, their level of need is established and then they receive their ”prescriptions”. Coupons for fruit and vegetables are provided by health care provider and they are redeemed weekly. This program which originally started by Wholesome Wave back in 2011 is expanded to seven states.
In 2012 pilot from communities where this program was launched had positive results. According to those results, patients in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington, D.C, a communities where FVRx program was launched, had increased fruit and vegetable consumption. Patients from this community made repeated visits to farmers market and they continue with their regular medical visits. Those patients, who increased the knowledge about neighborhood farmers markets understand the importance of fruit and veggies in their diet.