The Washtenaw County Public Health Department has completed and released the results of its two-year Prescription for Health Program and the news is very encouraging.
In a recent press release on April 4, 2013, Washtenaw County Public Health Department States:
With funding from the Kresge Foundation, Washtenaw County Public Health led a partnership of local health clinics and farmers’ markets. Participating health providers wrote “prescriptions” for their low-income patients to eat more fruits and vegetables. Patients redeemed their prescriptions at local farmers’ markets where they purchased fresh produce and consulted with Public Health’s registered dietitian. Each year of the two-year program, patients reported increasing their fruit and vegetable intake by nearly one cup per day from pre- to post-program.
“Prescription for Health is a great example of collaborative efforts producing positive outcomes,” says Richard Fleece, Health Officer. “Residents purchase fresh, healthy foods from local markets; clinics offer realistic options for eating healthier; and multiple partners that would not normally come together work effectively on a project that benefits the community.”
Over 870 patients from health clinics serving low-income residents participated. Both years of the program, participants interviewed post-program reported eating significantly more fruits and vegetables than they reported eating pre-program.
The Washtenaw County Public Health Department is very pleased with these results, which don’t stop at increased fruit and vegetable intake for the program participants. They also report:
Local farmers’ markets reported increases in revenue and said the program helped bring new customers to the market. Both years of the program, most participants said they would likely visit the farmers’ market again (98%).