Thirty pregnant women participating in a project by the People's Community Clinic in Austin, Texas are receiving prescriptions for fresh fruits and vegetables from their physicians as part of a regional group effort to improve the health of pregnant women from lower income communities.
Produce prescriptions are not new—they're being used in several areas around the country, particularly in lower income neighborhoods where obesity and diet-related illnesses are affecting a number of families. But this program is the first trial of its kind with a focus on low-income expectant mothers. Along with the $1 per day FVRx vouchers for use on fresh fruits and vegetables, the women are also receiving cooking classes to help them eat better while pregnant, and to be able to prepare healthy food for themselves and their children for years to come.
The women, parsed into three groups of ten, are all from the same geographic area of Austin are the first to participate in this type of program that is also aligned with the Centers for Disease Control's efforts in reducing obesity and making fresh fruits and vegetables more readily available to lower income communities.
Made possible with support from the Sustainable Food Center, St. David's Foundation and Wholesome Wave, the Austin program is receiving praise from anti-obesity efforts for offering women a valuable opportunity to be able to make positive dietary changes that could impact the health of their babies. It can also reduce the women's own risks of health issues related to poor diet, which can increase the risks of certain illnesses during and after pregnancy.
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Image: Nina Matthews Photography