A healthy dose of fruits and vegetables is just what the doctor ordered—literally. When pediatricians write a prescription for fruits and vegetables, it’s actually helping kids eat healthier, according to new research presented at Nutrition 2018.

The research, which is awaiting peer-review and is still considered preliminary, found that pediatric patients who received an actual prescription for fruits and vegetables from their doctors were more likely to shop and eat healthier. The prescription program was developed in 2015 at a residency training pediatric clinic in Flint, Michigan. The clinic was located above the farmer’s market in downtown Flint, so they decided to team up with the market to encourage families with kids to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

The patients received $15 “prescriptions” for produce that they could use to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. The researchers interviewed parents and caregivers and found that the kids who received the prescription were more likely to shop at the farmer’s market than those who didn’t.

“Fruit and vegetable intake tracks from childhood to adulthood, making it important for healthcare professionals to guide children towards healthy eating early on,” study lead researcher Amy Saxe-Custack told Earth.com. “We need to consider not only nutrition education but also barriers to access and affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly in underserved areas. The prescription program is a first step to introducing fresh, high-quality produce to children.”

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So if your kiddo keeps pushing their peas off the plate, they might be more apt to listen to their pediatrician with an actual prescription for fruits and veggies—and hey, if it gets kids to eat better, it’s definitely worth a shot.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

Featured photo: Raw Pixel

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