HMHP prescribing fruits and vegetables to patients - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

HMHP prescribing fruits and vegetables to patients

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

It's some of the freshest produce grown in the Mahoning Valley and it's all free if you're a part of Humility of Mary Health Partners' new Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program.

"I like coming here because I think it is very good for my health," said Mary Craig, a patient at HMHP.

"I come here because I am a diabetic and I get all of the fresh fruits because it is good for me," said HMHP patient Thomas Riebe.

Wanting to take a new approach to improve the lives of patients, HMHP decided to launch the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program.  It's a program growing in popularity across the country.  Here in the Valley, doctors at four different HMHP facilities prescribe fruits and vegetables to patients who suffer from ailments such as diabetes or high blood pressure and would benefit from adding fruits and vegetables to their diets.
 
"We hope then that we can reduce weight and reduce body mass index as well as blood pressure; perhaps make an impact on medications reducing the need," said Bridget Lackey, the HMHP community health educator.

At the end of the program in October, the hospital system will know whether the $20 monthly vouchers prescribed by doctors did in fact improve health conditions.

Some patients are already giving it rave reviews.

"Oh, quality of life, it's great," Riebe said. "[The program] helps my [blood] sugar and I am living a lot better life than I was before."

The vouchers can be exchanged at farmers' markets at either St. Elizabeth's Health Center or Courthouse Square in Warren. In order to get a prescription, you must be a patient of a physician employed by Humility of Mary Health Partners.

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