To US citizens with limited resources, “healthy foods [are perceived] as luxury items. That has downstream implications for obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases,” says Hilary Seligman, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). And she, like many others, believe it’s time for the healthcare sector to step up.
Recent research seeks to assess the impact of the “food as medicine” tactic. One response to this call has been produce prescription programs (PPRs) They’re part of a broader “food as health” effort—including medically tailored meals and free distribution of local produce—meant to address the double-whammy of poor health and food insecurity across the country.
PPRs in particular “envision an ecosystem in which healthy food becomes a part of healthcare because it’s such an important part of your health,” Seligman says. And they’re being met with optimism “because [they] maintain a lot of the dignity of shopping for yourself and choosing your own foods.”