Doctors at the Family Health Center in Waco are finding new ways to help their patients.
Instead of getting prescriptions for medicine, patients get access to workouts and foods that aren't readily available in their neighborhoods.
Norma Torres is a patient at the Family Health Center in Waco. Torres has been exercising consistently for the last three weeks. Her doctor recommended it after discovering she had thyroid issues.
"She was really nice, I felt confident that I can do it,”Torres said.
Doctors like Jackson Griggs, who is the Associate Program Director of Waco Family Medicine Residency Program, helped start the Wellness Center Membership Prescription Program where they write prescriptions for exercise. Baylor University donated the workout equipment and Baylor Graduate students who are seeking a degree in Exercise Physiology serve as fitness advisors.
"If we can get our patients to begin to exercise on a regular basis, we see a dramatic improvement in health, a decrease in disability and less risk for early death," Dr. Griggs said.
Dr. Griggs said 80 percent of their patients fall below the poverty line so they also hand out prescriptions for produce where patients get a list of fresh fruits and vegetables to eat to improve their quality of life. World Hunger Farm in Waco provides the produce two times a week.
"This is really gratifying to have a way in which we can provide care for patients that doesn't just address the organ problem, the tissue problem, the biomedical problem, but also gives them a venue to exercise and eat healthy in ways they may not have had access to previously," Griggs said.
Torres says this program is extremely useful for others in the community.
It's accessible for everyone that wants to exercise. I appreciate it because they encourage people just to get better in their overall health.