HealthPartners is going to a new extreme in its effort to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity: The plan has started writing prescriptions for vegetables.
Participating doctors issue the prescriptions to children ages 5 to 12 who could use healthier diets, encouraging them to make their own choices and try something new. Area supermarkets accept the prescriptions and track the varieties of produce purchased. The prescriptions are actually just vouchers funded by HealthPartners, rather than formal scripts billed to health insurance companies. But the idea is to make the vouchers look official so children receive the message that healthful eating is good health care.