• Categories

HealthNet partners with IU Health's Garden on the Go to pilot new incentive program!

5/6/2011

Like most of the nation, one of the leading concerns facing Hoosiers is the alarming rise of obesity in our communities.  Almost 29 percent of Hoosier children and 65 percent of adults are overweight or obese, exposing them to increased risk for developing serious life-threatening and disabling conditions.

Accessing healthy food is a challenge for many Americans, especially those living in low-income neighborhoods.  Yet, better access to healthy foods corresponds with healthier eating and lower risk for obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases.

Last year, Indiana University Health launched Garden on the Go™ in partnership with Green BEAN Delivery in an effort to improve access to affordable fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods of need in Marion County.  The truck makes 16 stops a week, many at or near HealthNet health centers.

This month, the HealthNet Health Promotion program began piloting a new incentive program in partnership with IU Health and Garden on the Go to help patients not only access affordable, fresh produce near their homes, but also to motivate them to make changes in their eating habits.

“When you’re trying to feed a family on a limited income, you have to make choices to stretch your dollar. Sometimes those choices may be cheaper, but not very healthy. We hope that this ‘prescription’ incentive will encourage participants to experiment and try preparing different fruits and vegetables for their families,” said Karen Gough, HealthNet’s dietitian. 

Twenty-five patients currently enrolled in nutrition counseling at Southwest and Southeast health centers were invited to participate. Each will receive $7 in Garden on the Go vouchers each week for the next six months. Changes in weight and blood pressure will be monitored during regular patient visits, as well as their fruit and vegetable consumption. If successful, HealthNet hopes to expand the program to patients at its other health centers.