This is just what the doctor ordered! Elizabeth Renter reports for Natural Society about the decision in NYC to allow “Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program.”
The report was published on July 31st, 2013. Renter writes:
Just last week, Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley announced the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, which actually allows doctors in the NYC area to give at-risk families better access to local produce. The program allows them to prescribe fruit and vegetables!
Obese and overweight patients and their families can be given “Health Bucks”. These can be redeemed at more than 140 NYC farmers markets. They are essentially free vouchers for truly better health.
Renter states that the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP) is in essence, “Subsidizing foods that cause sickness.”
She cites a Natural Society article that calls SNAP, “A big government handout to junk food manufacturers and soda companies.”
This view of SNAP as a handout for junk food is not substantiated in the article, but Renter provides a link to a report that shows that the government spends huge amounts subsidizing corn and soy. Here’s an excerpt from that report by Natural Society:
A recent report from U.S. PIRG (a federation of state Public Interest Research Groups) indicates that since 1995, the U.S. government has spent more than $19 billion subsidizing corn and soy junk food ingredients.
That report, “Apples to Twinkies 2013: Comparing Taxpayer Subsidies for Fresh Produce and Junk Food”, says that the government funds more junk food than fresh fruits and vegetables. Though the government spends an estimated $292.5 billion on all agricultural subsidies since 1995, only $689 million went to apples (the “only fruit or vegetable to receive significant federal subsidies”). $689 million for apples compared with $19.2 billion for junk food is a serious disparity.
Renter notes that the 100 million Americans who receive SNAP are among the group most likely to have type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It’s hard to imagine that one third of the U.S. population is now utilizing the federal program. According to the report, the new prescription for fruits and vegetables program in NYC will give a family of four $120/month in “Health bucks”.
Read the full report, click here.