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UF Health Jax Prescribes Produce With New ‘Food Pharmacy’ Program

Photo: Sydney Boles

A novel program at UF Health Jacksonville is making healthy food a part of the treatment plan. The hospital says its “prescription” for vegetables makes it the first food pharmacy in Florida.

For some medical issues — like high blood pressure, or diabetes — a key part of the treatment plan is a healthy diet.

But for many low-income patients, accessing nutritious food is a challenge.

Ann-Marie Knight is the vice president for community engagement at UF Health.

“Our patients often live in food deserts. So if they can’t physically get to a grocery store because they lack the transportation, they have physical barriers, or they lack the finances to get to the grocery store, we want to provide that service.”

Patients get personalized nutrition counseling — along with enough food for their whole household, for at least six months. Best of all, from eggs to eggplants to sacks of potatoes, all of it is free of charge, thanks to donations from Feeding Northeast Florida and other nonprofits.

The food pharmacy is currently serving 96 patients.

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