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Friday, January 20, 2012

New Obesity Prevention Tactic: Take Two Chard Leaves and Call Me in the Morning

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 9:30 AM

No, it doesn't come in a pill form. - XURA / SHUTTERSTOCK

According to an article this morning in the Bay Citizen, a group of pediatricians at Oakland's Highland Hospital have begun testing out a new tactic for reducing the risk of obesity and diabetes in children: writing prescriptions for fruits and vegetables. It's just one of a number of pilot programs around the country that are using the authority medical doctors have over patients to get people to eat more nutritious food.

Ordering an apple 2x daily isn't the extent of Highland Hospital's prescriptions, reporter Rosa Ramirez writes. Families participating in the program were given produce boxes and required to attend cooking classes to learn how to prepare their medicine.

"There isn't one program that is going to solve the entire dilemma of the diabetes crisis," said Juliette Storch, the chief operating officer at Wholesome Wave [a Connecticut organization promoting produce prescriptions]. For veggie prescription programs to work there must be "interaction and constant communication between the participants and the clinic. It's not enough to write a prescription and say, 'go exercise,'" she said.

Will the program be successful? Why not? It's a more sensible strategy than simply marketing good nutrition or waiting until people get diagnosed with diabetes to prescribe medical treatments. Too bad there's not enough money in the budget of these vegetable prescription programs to buy an endorsement from diabetic Paula Deen.

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Jonathan Kauffman


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