In L.A., kids at risk of diabetes are getting prescriptions for free fruits


Photo: Mikhail Pashchenko


When a 10-year-old at risk of diabetes goes to the Eisner Pediatric and Family Center in Los Angeles, the doctor might hand them a « prescription » for fruit and vegetables, known as an FVRx.

The prescription can be redeemed at local farmers markets and the area’s 20 Target stores for free produce.

It’s one of several FVRx programs across the country, all based on a simple idea. In the past, patients at risk from diet-related diseases who went to the doctor would get advice to change what they ate, but often wouldn’t take that advice. The extra incentive of free food—and, perhaps, the officialness of a « prescription »—changes the outcome.

The prescription is a way to give incentives for prevention and potentially avoid years of medical bills for insulin, or treating organ failure, either for the patient or for the public.

In Los Angeles, toddlers have the highest obesity rate in the country, at 17%. With the prescription program, low-income kids who qualify will get fruit and vegetable vouchers for their family, so the whole family can change eating habits.



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