Enlisting clinicians in coaching patients on how to shop for and prepare healthy food is a critical prevention tactic that requires more emphasis in our health care system. Healthier people are less likely to over-utilize health care contributing to higher costs. Our payment policies and value-based interventions should build on the success of Veggie Rx and Food Rx promoting more in-office patient collaboration rather than reactive interventions post hospitalization (for example). Perhaps more importantly, proper nutrition contributes to positive health status and sustainability of health which are key aspects of outcomes that actually matter to patients. People also care about where their food comes from opening the door to opportunities for local farmers, slow food and farm-to-table movements to make a social impact.
Nutrition and exercise comprise 30% of health factors impacting health outcomes. Veggie Rx is a healthy food incentive program focused on changing a person’s person food system to improve health. This is accomplished by removing cost barriers to fresh produce through vouchers during a clinical office visit. University at Albany researchers have recently shown Veggie Rx to be a promising strategy for obesity prevention through BMI improvements among program participants. CareOregon’s Food Rx program is similar targeting people that are food insecure and/or have chronic conditions related to diet. Food Rx focuses on three programs: Curative Dosing, Prenatal Eating Classes and the Gleaning Collaborative all leveraging partnerships between clinics and food vendors.