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A Prescription for Green Beans in Kentucky

Compared with other parts of the country, residents of Appalachia face higher rates of chronic disease, such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

One eastern Kentucky health agency is using its patient access to help promote healthier choices by writing prescriptions for fresh produce. The Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC) offers the Farmacy Health Improvement Program to patients who are pregnant, have Type 1 diabetes, and eligible patients with Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and/or hypertension. Through Farmacy, eligible patients received vouchers to purchase fruits and vegetables at local county farmers markets. The program also offered education on eating and growing healthy foods.

The project's goal is to improve eating habits for low-income people while also improving their health outcomes. The expected impact would be a lower impact on healthcare costs by this group with improved health outcomes.

The 2016 survey results of the Farmacy Health Improvement Program noted a number of results. Nearly 54 percent of participants surveyed reduced the amount of money they typically spend on healthcare. Additionally, nearly 70 percent froze or canned the fruits and vegetables they bought through the Farmacy program. Fifty percent of participants saw improvements in blood pressure.

The research is supported by NIFA’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program.

Read about the Farmacy Health Improvement Program.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health;
Agriculture economics and rural communities
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