This is a post from the Alliance for Food and Farming on September 12, 2023:
Just in time for “National Fruits and Veggies Month,” a new study on the health benefits of produce prescriptions was published.
The peer reviewed study found that when doctors and health-care providers “prescribed” fruits and vegetables, patients ate more produce, lost weight and experienced significant reductions in blood pressure.
Researchers studied over 3,800 people from low-income neighborhoods who received food vouchers through nine programs in 12 states. The participants received vouchers or cards worth $15 to $300 per month to buy more fruits and vegetables from farmers markets and grocery stores.
At the end of the study, adults reported eating an average of 0.85 additional cups of fruits and vegetables per day or 30 percent more each day. Children in the study ate 0.26 cups more or about 7 percent more per day. According to the study authors, the effect of more fruits and vegetables on blood pressure in adults was about half that of commonly prescribed medications, which is notable for a change in diet.
This new study complements previous studies examining produce prescriptions.
One study from Tufts University found that “prescriptions” for fruits and veggies would prevent 1.93 million cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks) and 350,000 deaths, as well as cut healthcare costs by $40 billion.
With only one in 10 of Americans eating enough produce each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the health community continues to look for ways to increase consumption of these nutrient-dense foods.
Studies and analyses on produce prescription program results show promise in their ability to improve diets and consumer health.
The study results also underscore the importance of consumers having access to more affordable and available fruits and vegetables, especially during periods of rising costs and inflation.
Consumer choice is a key Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) message. The AFF encourages consumers to choose the fruits and vegetables they enjoy and are affordable and accessible for them but choose to eat more every day for better health and a longer life.
Visit safefruitsandveggies.com to learn more about the safety of all produce.