UW-Extension’s FoodWIse Program partnered with Agnesian HealthCare and the Boys and Girls Club to promote healthy eating among Fond du Lac County youth by utilizing the United HealthCare “Small Steps” Program.
Most people associate a prescription with medicine that comes in a pill bottle, but there is an increasing understanding among the medical community that healthy food is the best kind of medicine to prevent obesity. United HealthCare’s “Small Steps” Program is a fruit and vegetable prescription program that enables family physicians to prescribe fresh produce to patients. This specific program aims to give at-risk families greater access to healthy foods. “Small Steps” prescriptions are redeemed at the Downtown Fond du Lac Farmers Market. This summer, prescriptions were offered at a variety of Fond du Lac County agencies, including Agnesian HealthCare, Boys and Girls Club, and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children).
With their prescription in hand, Boys and Girls Club students purchased fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers market every Wednesday for 5 weeks. The students were then instructed by Amanda Miller, FoodWIse Coordinator/Family Living Educator, in the kitchen on how to safely use the produce in a healthy recipe. In addition, Dr. Heather Schmidt, Agnesian Family Physician, discussed the importance of limiting screen time.
Following the session, 98% of Boys and Girls Club students said they would fill their plates with fruits and vegetables and 81% said they will ask their parents to shop at the farmers market for fresh fruits and vegetables. Seventy-seven percent said they will limit their screen time to less than 2 hours per day.