The new Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program launched at two NYC hospitals this week. Under this new initiative, overweight or obese patients can be prescribed Health Bucks along with nutritional counseling. These Health Bucks, which accrue at $1 per day per family member over a four month period, are redeemable only at NYC farmers markets.

The use of Health Bucks allows for increased access to locally grown fresh food, leading to improved health outcomes for individuals while bringing lasting changes to the local economy.

Patients from the pilot program have already seen dramatic weight loss and other positive changes for themselves and their children. Could this be the default nutritional therapy of the future?

New Yorkers have been seeing calorie counts on menus since 2009. But has anyone stopped to consider how effective this law has been on influencing consumer choice?
A new study by the American Journal of Public Health shows that providing McDonald’s customers with flyers about how many calories they should eat in a meal or day when calorie counts were available on the menu made no significant difference in what they ordered. Women ordered meals with 27% more calories than recommended, while men ate 11% more - regardless of whether or not they received a flyer.
What does this tell us? Maybe the issue is simply their location - fast food chains have not done much in the last decade to improve their offerings. But perhaps it would be better to look at calories as the problem. Menus offering exercise times instead of calories have been shown to be more effective in reducing calorie intake, although they are far less exact. 
Do you pay attention to calorie counts when you go out to eat? How can this system be improved? Sound off in the comments!

New Yorkers have been seeing calorie counts on menus since 2009. But has anyone stopped to consider how effective this law has been on influencing consumer choice?

A new study by the American Journal of Public Health shows that providing McDonald’s customers with flyers about how many calories they should eat in a meal or day when calorie counts were available on the menu made no significant difference in what they ordered. Women ordered meals with 27% more calories than recommended, while men ate 11% more - regardless of whether or not they received a flyer.

What does this tell us? Maybe the issue is simply their location - fast food chains have not done much in the last decade to improve their offerings. But perhaps it would be better to look at calories as the problem. Menus offering exercise times instead of calories have been shown to be more effective in reducing calorie intake, although they are far less exact. 

Do you pay attention to calorie counts when you go out to eat? How can this system be improved? Sound off in the comments!

Obesity: It’s officially a disease.
Now that obesity has officially been classified as a disease by the American Medical Association, changes in the way doctors and insurance companies treat patients may be on the horizon. This decision could also affect public policy moves, the food industry, and the outlook of the American people. Currently almost two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.

Obesity: It’s officially a disease.

Now that obesity has officially been classified as a disease by the American Medical Association, changes in the way doctors and insurance companies treat patients may be on the horizon. This decision could also affect public policy moves, the food industry, and the outlook of the American people. Currently almost two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.

Voices from the Past

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As New York City gets ready to implement its ban on big sodas, the issue of obesity once again takes center stage.

We’ve heard from nutrition experts, soda corporations, consumer agencies, politicians and Joe Schmo about whether we should have a tax and if it will do any good. But why do we crave all these bad-for-you foods in the first place?

Turns out it’s partly evolution’s fault. Our prehistoric, hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t have regular access to high-energy foods, so when it was available, they gorged on it. Think ice-cream-binge-after-being-dumped kind of gorging. Only instead of ice cream, they feasted on animals they were able to hunt, and fruit and nuts that were in season. Those high calorie binges helped fuel their big brains. But today, we have access to far more sugar and fat than our bodies need, which can lead to overindulgence and obesity.

This link between how our species evolved and the foods we crave today is explored in our new exhibition, The Evolution – Health Connection, which is open through June. Along with obesity, The Evolution – Health Connection also looks at the evolutionary reasons behind some other very human problems: painful childbirths, sunburns, lactose intolerance and back problems.

So the next time that little voice in your head says that you need a soda and fries, resist! Stand firm! Distract yourself! Because after all, it’s just your ancestors talking.