Michigan doctors providing vouchers for fruits and vegetables - WNEM TV 5

Michigan doctors providing vouchers for fruits and vegetables

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Some doctors in Michigan are putting an old wives’ tale to the test.

They’re writing prescriptions, but not for pills, but for fruits and vegetables for low-income patients with health conditions like diabetes.

"That's absolutely amazing because our children are the first generation to have a shorter life span than we do,” said health professional, Rachel Histed. “A lot of that is due to diseases related to being overweight and obese."

These programs are called “Prescription for Heath” and while many are funded federally, some are supported by private dollars.

Participating doctors give patients vouchers to farmer’s markets, where they can buy healthy food.

Most people are aware of the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, but some also say eating healthier can be a little more expensive. That's why folks here at the farmers market in Saginaw say they'd jump at the chance to take advantage of a program like this.

 "Being a single mom, it could definitely help me,” said Stacy Foster. “Going to grocery store is very expensive, especially when you're buying fruits and vegetables. It you can get them cheaper, it definitely helps."

Right now, Bay County is the only area in mid-Michigan offering such a program. But Saginaw Mayor Dennis Browning said doctors in Saginaw may soon be prescribing fruits and vegetables.

"It's a win-win all the way around,” Browning said. “It supports our farmers, at the same time it gets the proper nourishment that people need."

Health experts said this new program could help people keep more fresh fruits and vegetables around to create healthier eating habits for the entire family.

"It could start to change our children so we can change literally the weight of the world," Histed said.

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