IT'S AN EPIDEMIC OF EPIC PORTIONS.
THE C-D-C ESTIMATES ABOUT 35-PERCENT OF ALL AMERICANS ARE OBESE.
A RECENT STUDY SHOWS THE NUMBER COULD ACTUALLY BE 60-PERCENT!
THAT MEANS MORE OF US COULD BE AT RISK FOR SERIOUS HEALTH CONDITIONS LIKE DIABETES AND HEART DISEASE.
TO FIGHT THE PROBLEM AND THE HEALTHCARE COSTS THAT COME WITH IT ONE DOCTOR HAS LAUNCHED A UNIQUE PROGRAM SHE HOPES WILL CATCH ON ACROSS AMERICA.
FRESH FRUITS AND VEGGIES GROWN LOCALLY...
"Today I got some strawberries. My kids love strawberries."
IT LOOKS LIKE A NEIGHBORHOOD FARMERS' MARKET... BUT IT'S ACTUALLY INSIDE A HEALTH CLINIC! JAMAICA FITE'S HERE FOR HER MONTHLY DOCTOR'S VISIT.
"Coming right out from an appointment where they're discussing health and eating proper, I think this is the best place to have something like this."
SHE LIVES IN AN AREA WHERE FRESH PRODUCE ISN'T READILY AVAILABLE.
"But you know what's so easy to get? Burgers, French fries."
"You can probably drive for more than a mile and not see a full service grocery store."
IT'S WHAT'S KNOWN AS A FOOD DESERT
"Largely low income communities."
COMMUNITIES DOCTOR ANN SMITH-BARNES SERVES.
"I spend my clinic time telling people to eat healthy food and if they don't have access, I realize that I was really spinning my wheels."
SO THE DOCTOR IS BRINGING PRODUCE TO HER PATIENTS. SHE SAYS MANY DON'T HAVE WAYS TO GET TO THE GROCERY STORE...
"But they do find a way to get to their clinic appointments."
HERE THEY PAY THE SAME FOR THIS AS THEY WOULD FOR THIS.
A STUDY SHOWS THE COMBINED NATIONAL HEALTHCARE COST OF OBESE AND OVERWEIGHT AMERICANS.
IS 114-BILLION DOLLARS. THE DOCTOR SAYS, IF THE FARMERS' MARKET HELPS 20-PERCENT OF THE OBESE POPULATION IN THE CLINICS MOVE INTO THE LESS-DANGEROUS OVERWEIGHT CATEGORY.
("We could save about 20 million dollars in our healthcare system.")
MONEY THAT COULD BE SPENT ON BEING PROACTIVE INSTEAD OF REACTIVE.
"We don't want to just be known for taking care of the sick well, we want to be known for promoting health and wellness in our community."
SO FAR PATIENTS HAVE PURCHASED MORE THAN TWENTY TONS OF HEALTHY FOOD AT THE CLINIC.
DOCTOR BARNES SAYS, OTHER HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS HAVE EXPRESSED INTEREST IN ADOPTING HER FARMERS' MARKET IDEA. RIGHT NOW, THE FARMERS' MARKET ROTATES BETWEEN FIVE CLINICS DURING THE WEEK.
THE MONEY IT BRINGS IN HELPS PAY PEOPLE WHO MAN THE STAND AND BUYS MORE FRESH PRODUCE.
Copyright 2013 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved.