Family First Health: Eat Your Greens; program aims to boost fruit and vegetable intake

While dressed as a vegetable during the York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Kip Robson hands out Family First Health Greenbacks, which were ‘dollars’ that could be used at Central Market York to buy fruits and vegetables. (Submitted)

Soon, produce stands in York County will be full of fruits and vegetables. This spring, Family First Health has launched an initiative to encourage people to dig in.

CEO Jenny Englerth said FFH started Eat Your Greens because a 2012 county health assessment showed that only 3 to 4 percent of residents eat three servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The campaign, which kicked off during the York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, includes tips during doctor and dentist visits, a screening of the documentary “Fresh,” and pop-up picnics in May.

Although low fruit and vegetable consumption is a problem county wide, Englerth said, many of FFH’s patients eat commodity foods and have less access to fresh fruits and vegetables. She said 60 percent FFH’s patients have chronic illness, which can be partially caused by poor nutrition.

Englerth said people with low incomes face barriers in nutrition, including cultural and educational differences. She said many people who live in poverty don’t know how to prepare fruits and vegetables from their natural state.

She said FFH is working with the community to address these problems. For example, some stands at Central Market York accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

“All of us can really step back and think about better ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our diets,” she said.

To learn the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables you should have in a day, use the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s calculator.

If you go
What: “Fresh”
When: 6:30 p.m. April 30 (a reception starts at 6 p.m.)
Where: York Little Theatre, 27 S. Belmont St., Spring Garden Township
Details: Free, but tickets are required

Family First health provides services in York, Hanover, Lewisberry and Gettysburg. For details, visit community health center’s website.

About Leigh Zaleski

I'm a health features reporter for the York Daily Record/Sunday News and healthy living blogger for No Sweat, York. Contact me with story ideas at lzaleski@ydr.com, 717-771-2101 or @leighzaleski on Twitter.
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