Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Doctors in Massachusetts prescribing produce to their patients as a way to fight childhood overweight was named the “Best News for Prevention” while hands-free headsets are proven to be no safer than holding the cell phone while driving was named the “Worst News for Prevention.”

The “Best/Worst” awards are announced each week in “Prevention Matters,” the blog of Partnership for Prevention. "Best/Worst News for Prevention” polls are snapshots taken during a brief period of time that reflect the views of Partnership for Prevention staff. The polls are not designed or intended to reflect a statistically valid representation of the population and should not be used as such. More information is available at http://www.prevent.org/.


Eat an Apple (Doctor’s Orders)

The farm stand is becoming the new apothecary, dispensing apples — not to mention artichokes, asparagus and arugula — to fill a novel kind of prescription.

Doctors at three health centers in Massachusetts have begun advising patients to eat “prescription produce” from local farmers’ markets, in an effort to fight obesity in children of low-income families. Now they will give coupons amounting to $1 a day for each member of a patient’s family to promote healthy meals.

“A lot of these kids have a very limited range of fruits and vegetables that are acceptable and familiar to them. Potentially, they will try more,” said Dr. Suki Tepperberg, a family physician at Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester, one of the program sites. “The goal is to get them to increase their consumption of fruit and vegetables by one serving a day."


Hands-Free Headsets Aren't Safer for Drivers Than Holding Cell Phone

Ditch the phone if you drive. That's the bottom line of a new study that found using hands-free headsets while driving doesn't result in fewer accidents, echoing the results of many previous studies.

''When you are on the phone, you are only using part of your brain to drive," says researcher David Schwebel, PhD, vice-chair and professor of psychology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, who presented the findings today at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in San Diego.

''My advice is not to talk on the phone while you are driving, ever," he says.


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