Prescribing Food as Medicine

Can you imagine your doctor writing a prescription just for you prescribing food rather than medicine and personalizing it according to your DNA? Nutrigenomics is an area of research that aims to give people the correct foods and diet suitable for them according to their genetic makeup. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, March 25, 2014 advances this idea that genetic factors are behind many diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes and obesity and DNA testing can pinpoint what is lacking or needed in their diet to prevent or treat some of these diseases. Nutrigenomics could be used alongside treatments for these diseases and the hope is that following the right diet would enhance treatments for diseases like cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Research Showing Importance of Nutritious Food but People are Stuck in their Old Ways

While more and more research is showing the importance of following a good diet, and while doctors and nutritionists keep telling their patients to eat better and even offer suggestions, people are simply not complying with these instructions. Either they are stuck in their old ways, or do not believe that eating better foods can help them or they find it too expensive to buy more healthy foods. For this reason researchers are now trying to see if people could be encouraged to eat healthier foods by financial incentives that could be carried out by Medicare and Medicaid and delivered like a prescription.

Research showed Eating Healthier Foods Could Save Billions of Dollars in Healthcare Costs

Researchers did simulations to try to determine what kind of incentives would succeed to get people to try healthier foods. For a 30% savings of the price. Their research showed that eating healthier foods could result in better health and could also save billions of dollars by Medicare and Medicaid in health costs. Results of their efforts and research were published March 19, 2019 in the PLOS journal.

Two Intervention Incentives to Save 30% on Healthy Foods

Fruit and Vegetable Incentive (F&V)

The fruit and vegetable (F&V) incentive was estimated to be able to prevent 1.93 million cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes, gain 4.64 million quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and save $39.7 billion in healthcare costs.

Healthy Food Incentive

The healthy food incentive that included fruits and vegetables plus whole grains, seeds, nuts, fish and healthy plant oils was estimated to be able to prevent 3.28 million cardiovascular events, 0.12 million cases of diabetes, gain 8.40 million quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and save $100.2 billion in healthcare costs.

New Produce Prescription Program

A new $25 million Produce Prescription Program was passed in the 2018 Farm Bill in the United States and this will provide funding for food incentive pilot projects for the next five years.

Choose a Rehab or Skilled Nursing Facility that Places Importance on Nutrition

The Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey offers fine dining with a delicious and healthy cuisine by a chef under the supervision of a registered dietitian and food manager.


This will be interesting to see if prescribing healthy food at a 30% discount will have a positive effect on health and mortality in the United States.

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