This study found that prescribing fresh vegetables to Hispanic/Latino adults living with or at risk of type 2 diabetes can greatly improve overall health.
More about vegetable prescriptions for people with type 2 diabetes
Eating a poor diet can cause poor health. In the U.S., fruit and vegetable intake is below the recommended levels of two to three cups of vegetables per day. In general, we know that Hispanics/Latinos in the U.S. eat a less healthy diet compared with other racial/ethnic groups. For people with diabetes, diet is a very important factor that can either improve or harm health. In the Farming for Life program at Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, doctors prescribed fresh local vegetables to adults with or at risk of type 2 diabetes to see if that could make a difference in their health. 75% of study participants were Mexican-American. Researchers looked at specific measurements to compare health before and after participants received the vegetables. These health markers included weight, waist size, blood pressure, Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c, a measure of long- term blood glucose control), sleep, mood and pain. Each week, participants received the recommended 21 weekly servings of fresh vegetables (not including starchy vegetables like corn, squash, or potatoes) from local farms for free.
Did prescribing vegetables to adults with or at risk of type 2 diabetes impact their health? Yes. Over 3 months, there were many improvements in participants’ overall health. Improvements include a decrease in waist size, weight, HbA1c and blood pressure. As expected, the frequency of eating vegetables increased while participants consumed fewer tortillas and less soda during the 3-month study. Additionally, participants reported that their sleep, mood and pain levels improved too. It is important to note that this study did not include any kind of diabetes or nutrition education. This proves that prescribing vegetables alone without an education component can still greatly improve health outcomes. A plant-based diet ( that encourages eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts) can help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes. This is important for Latinos/Hispanics since rates of type 2 diabetes are higher among this population compared to non-Hispanic whites.
Photo courtesy of Farming for Life © 2017