More DC kids will have access to healthy foods as ‘food pharmacy’ expands

by Rajesh Kaur

Expanding Program Aims to Improve Access to Healthy Food for Kids in D.C.

Many children in Washington D.C. face a lack of access to healthy fruits and vegetables, which can have a significant impact on their overall health and well-being. However, a program that is dedicated to addressing this issue is now expanding its reach in an effort to make a positive change.

The program, run by the Capital Area Food Bank, allows doctors to “prescribe” fruits and vegetables to families who are not receiving enough nutritious foods in their diets. This is particularly relevant in D.C., where many neighborhoods do not have convenient access to healthy food options. Through the program, families can pick up recommended groceries from a “food pharmacy” located at their doctor’s office after appointments.

In an exciting development, Amerigroup has pledged a donation of $450,000 to expand the program. According to Adrian Jordan, the plan president, this donation will provide food for an additional 150 families over the course of three years. Currently, the program helps around 120 families, so this expansion more than doubles the number of families who can benefit.

One of the great aspects of the program is its ability to tailor the food offerings to the preferences and needs of each family. For instance, if a child particularly enjoys oranges or kiwis, doctors can ensure that those fruits are included in their grocery box. Additionally, families who receive the boxes of food will receive specific guidance from a nutritionist on how to prepare and make the most of the ingredients.

Amerigroup’s research indicates that rates of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in children have been increasing rapidly in recent years, partly due to the childhood obesity epidemic and a lack of access to healthy fruits and vegetables. By expanding the program, it aims to help combat these health issues and promote better dietary habits among children in D.C.

This initiative is a commendable step towards improving access to nutritious food for vulnerable families in the area. It not only provides essential groceries but also offers guidance on how to make healthy food taste delicious, making it easier for families to adopt healthier eating habits.

As the program expands, it will have a more significant impact on improving the health and well-being of children in D.C. By ensuring that families have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, we can hope to see a decrease in rates of childhood obesity and related health conditions.

It is encouraging to see organizations like the Capital Area Food Bank and Amerigroup dedicating resources and efforts to address the issue of food insecurity and improve access to healthy food options for families in need. With continued support, programs like these can make a lasting difference in the lives of children and help create a healthier future for our communities.

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