Move over meds: Are healthy food scripts the future of chronic care?

'I'd much rather prescribe a cucumber over a pharmaceutical any day,' says primary care doctor

Prescriptions for healthy food could lower the prevalence of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and cut their associated healthcare costs, a study suggests.

The US research used computer models to calculate the impact of scripts for healthy food that came with a 30% discount for purchasing the food stuffs.

It found that subsidised healthy food prescriptions could prevent nearly 3.3 million cardiovascular events, prevent 120,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes and save about $100 billion in healthcare costs.

The simulations were run on people aged 35 to 80 who were enrolled in the US Medicare or Medicaid systems, said the study published in PLoS Medicine.

 

As part of the modelling, the researchers used data from the three most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2009-2014