Mounting evidence shows that nutrition interventions can play a key role in improving health, controlling health care costs, and supporting local, sustainable food systems. As a result, opportunities have been emerging in U.S. health care and food systems that could provide the funding and infrastructure to sustainably support these programs; however, access to nutrition interventions continues to be limited.
With support from The Rockefeller Foundation, The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI) launched the Mainstreaming Produce Prescriptions initiative to fund, scale, and integrate Produce Prescription programs – a popular nutrition intervention – into health care delivery and existing food system infrastructure. Produce Prescription programs enable health care providers to distribute benefits to patients living with, or at risk of, diet-affected health conditions to purchase fruits and vegetables at little or no cost. These promising programs promote access to healthy foods while reducing the financial burden of maintaining a healthy diet.
In March 2021, CHLPI released Mainstreaming Produce Prescriptions: A Policy Strategy Report to highlight opportunities for improving access to nutritious foods through federal, state, and institutional policies. The report includes 20 recommendations that offer feasible and cost-effective pathways to increase access to Produce Prescriptions using existing health care and food system programs, such as Medicaid, Medicare, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). See the “Resources” section below for additional materials, including an Executive Summary and a scan of laws and policies that both support and hinder the expansion of Produce Prescription programs.
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