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US vs UK; the Obesity Epidemic

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We have all heard that childhood obesity is on the rise, and time and time again it is being reported in the press and yet still no progress seems to be being made. However a recent report released by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has stated that over there childhood obesity is starting to decline in comparison with the figures from previous years. Whilst this is great for America, over here the numbers are continuing to rise therefore the question is what are we doing wrong? 

One piece of anecdotal evidence I found recently reported that some New York Doctors had now started prescribing fruit and vegetables to overweight and obese patients. This is part of what is known as the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program introduced by the Deputy Mayor and the Health Commissioner of New York City. Under this patients will be prescribed fruit and vegetables through Health Bucks which can be redeemed for produce at local farmers markets. It is also a method of making locally grown foods available to those who live in the city. These Health Bucks are equivalent to one dollar and each family member receives one dollar a day for four months. Every time a patient needs their prescription renewing they are directed back to the hospital to have their weight and subsequently their BMI (body mass index) calculated to assess their progress with the scheme.

This program is a very simple concept and may have contributed to the decrease in the numbers of childhood obesity reported. So why not try something like this over here, particularly in areas where the recession has hit communities hard as it will give the lower-income parts of the country easier access to fresh produce. On the other hand because of the differences between ours and the USA's healthcare systems it may not be a practical solution, however I think as an idea it is at least worth looking into.

 

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