New Study Shows “Produce Prescriptions” Improve Heart Health
A new study has found that “produce prescriptions” can significantly improve heart health in individuals with diet-related diseases. The study, which included nearly 4,000 people across 12 states, provided free fruits and vegetables to individuals who struggle to afford healthy food.
Participants in the study received vouchers for up to 10 months, which could be redeemed for produce at retail stores or farmers markets. Health care providers closely monitored changes in weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar among the participants, and observed significant improvements in these measures.
Among adults with hypertension, systolic blood pressure dropped by an average of 8 mm Hg, while diastolic blood pressure decreased by around 5 mm Hg. Individuals with uncontrolled diabetes saw a significant decline in their A1C levels, which measure blood sugar averages.
Moreover, participants in the program reported improved health outcomes and increased energy levels. These positive results highlight the potential of “produce prescriptions” as an effective intervention for individuals with diet-related diseases.
Experts stress the importance of expanding beyond pilot programs and investing in larger trials to further examine the benefits of food as medicine prescriptions. The Biden administration’s national strategy for improving healthy eating and incorporating nutrition into health care has created momentum for this approach.
Market solutions, such as technology-enabled systems, can also play a crucial role in supporting the implementation of food assistance programs. These solutions can help streamline the process of distributing vouchers and ensure that individuals have access to the fresh produce they need.
However, it is crucial to make these benefits persistent and covered for individuals who require long-term support. Further research is needed to determine the appropriate amount and type of food assistance for different patients.
The findings of this study provide promising evidence for the use of “produce prescriptions” in improving heart health. By providing free fruits and vegetables to individuals with diet-related diseases, we can take significant steps towards promoting healthier lifestyles and reducing the burden of chronic conditions.
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