The idea of food as medicine dates back thousands of years, so it makes sense that programs based on the concept already exist. Most fall into two categories: produce prescriptions and medically tailored meals. Both are gaining traction as research emerges to support their effectiveness.
Produce prescriptions are exactly what they sound like: Vouchers or cards from a health care provider that can be used to buy fresh produce. Not just anyone can get them, though – they’re aimed at people with conditions related to diet, like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, or people with food insecurity, who may be more likely to have those diseases. With better access to nutritious produce, proponents say, their need for costly health care treatments will go down. While these programs are becoming more widespread, funding is often limited and short-term.
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