An Apple a Day, Doctors Say

Contributor
Doctors write produce prescriptions for the underprivileged and overweight

flikr/L. Allen Brewer

In the United States, childhood obesity is a problem of epidemic proportions.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, cases of obesity in children have doubled over the past 30 years, and in 2010, 18 percent of children ages six to 11 were obese. 

At St. John's Well Child and Family Center, a Los Angeles clinic that works with a low-income, inner-city population, doctors have found that patients are receiving far less than the recommended amount of fresh produce.

Price is a major factor preventing these people from accessing healthy food. Most families either can’t afford to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, or find that there is next to no availability of these products in their local stores. 

Fortunately, thanks to a recent partnership between St. John’s health center and local farm distributor Community Services Unlimited, patients now have access to reduced-price produce.  A farm stand, located directly in front of the clinic, allows patients to have their fruit and vegetable prescriptions filled for minimal cost, or to purchase with food stamps.

The system hopes to change people’s diets by providing key building blocks for good health, hopefully reducing the population’s rates of chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity.   

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