Prescription for Health

There’s a role for pharmaceuticals in managing complex diseases. But that’s not the only way to impact diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more. We know that diet and exercise are critical components of a healthy lifestyle. We also know that fresh, healthy food can be expensive. That’s why NOCHS has teamed up with the Ottawa County Health Department and the local Chamber to help people access fresh produce through Prescription for Health.

“Diet and exercise are the most important elements of controlling medical issues like diabetes or heart disease,” says Dr. Kyle Kramer, of North Ottawa Medical Group’s Family Medicine office. “I have seen patients control these diseases using only diet and exercise. Conversely, I have seen people on five medications whose disease is out of control because they don’t change their eating habits. However, the expense of changing their habits can deter some people from truly getting better.”

Prescription for Health is a way to help people with lower income get fresh produce from the Spring Lake and Grand Haven Farmers Markets, which are run by the Chamber of Commerce. “We refer patients to the program, and so does Love in Action,” continues Dr. Kramer. “People who sign up receive vouchers for fresh produce throughout the farmers market season. The best part is that NOCHS has staff at the markets who can answer questions, provide recipes, and help patients make the most of their dollars.”

NOCHS also provides education and follow up to patients in the program, as well as to the general public. Look for NOCHS’ Farmers Market Education Station in both Grand Haven and Spring Lake this summer. “This summer we will once again welcome Chef Ellen Vonesh to show us How to Hide Your Veggies,” says Mishelle Bakewell, Community Outreach Liaison. “We also hand out recipes, and talk with people about how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diets.”

Visit the Farmers Market this summer. You’ll find great local produce, friendly farmers, and lots of helpful information. “Any small change is worthwhile,” says Dr. Kramer. “Set small goals for yourself, and then keep achieving them. Everyone benefits from better diet and more exercise.”

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