The over-prescription of drugs is steadily rising. Since the pharmaceutical industry became the booming business that it is today, there seems to be a pill you can take for every single ailment. From fighting inflammation to balancing hormones, if you go to a doctor for any reason you are likely going to be prescribed a pill bottle with a label you can’t pronounce rather than given actual medical advice.
Thankfully, one pharmaceutical company is trying to make a difference by prescribing a fruits and vegetables instead of a pill bottle. But before we get into that, let’s talk more about the dangers of over-prescribing certain medications.
Health Risks of Over-Prescription
Many experts have come to the conclusion that over-prescribing certain pharmaceutical drugs will end up causing a major health problems in the future. Their worries focus specifically on antibiotics, drugs that are almost always prescribed in order to treat bacterial infections.
Although antibiotics saved many lives when they first started being used in the early 1900’s, many scientists agree that their widespread use will lead to newer, stronger infections. This is due to the nature of the infectious bacteria that antibiotics are meant to kill.
These bacterial organisms are able to adapt to the drugs meant to kill them at a faster rate than human beings are able to invent new versions of that drug, meaning that they will be less effective on every new generation of bacteria. In the United States, it is estimated that at least two million people get infected with an antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year, with approximately 23,000 dying from it.
This shows that need for alternative ways to get people healthier, without strengthening the bacteria causing their illnesses at the same time.
Doctors Prescribing Fruits and VeggiesHealthPartners and Park Nicollet, a non-profit health care provider, will now be prescribing fruits and vegetables to children who visit their clinics for regular check ups.
The change was made at the beginning of June, when doctors at all 58 clinics belonging to HealthPartners and Park Nicollet began writing prescriptions for fruits and vegetables. These prescriptions are redeemable for $10 worth of produce at a variety of different grocery stores in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
The idea of prescribing vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables began three years ago at the HealthPartners clinic in Hugo and White Bear Lake. However, this will be the first year that it will be happening across all clinics under the health care provider. The program is based off of research that linked the consumption of fruit and vegetables to overall good health.
HealthPartner’s plan is to be able to reach at least 16,000 families with its new program.
“Fruits and vegetables are a key to healthy family eating,” Andrew Dorwart, St. Croix Valley Medical Director, said in a statement. “The voucher is a way to help make it a little easier to get more fruits and vegetables.”
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