The question of diet has been elevated from a personal issue to a public health crisis.
According to the Center for Disease Control, in 1990 no state had an obesity rate greater than 15%. Just 15 years later, however, 5 states had obesity rates between 20% and 25%, and the remaining 45 states all had rates over 25%.
Studies have shown that being overweight or obese poses risks for health problems including type 2 diabetes, high blood cholesterol, hypertension and stroke, asthma, and certain forms of cancer. The National Center for Weight & Wellness at George Washington University has estimated that obesity-related medical costs now total over $300 billion.
Local and community food systems advocates are now promoting affordable access to fresh fruits and vegetables in an effort to shift diets away from highly processed, high-fat and high-sugar foods.
OCFSN members are partnering with health care providers on “Veggie Rx” programs, through which doctors and nurses can offer patients with specific diet related health concerns or experiencing food insecurity vouchers for purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables. Some programs also offer nutrition counseling and cooking skills education to help patients develop healthier eating habits.
The OCFSN Veggie Rx working group is evaluating existing programs in Oregon to determine which models are most successful, and developing a base of evidence to show that fruit and vegetable subsidies are an effective intervention that can improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs.
Curry Watersheds Partnership
Friends of Zenger Farm
Gorge Grown Food Network
High Desert Food and Farm Alliance
Oregon Farmers’ Market Association
Ten Rivers Food Web
Upstream Public Health
Team Chair and Contact
Forest Grove Farmers’ Market Manager