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Free fruits and veggies at Cub Foods, when your child visits the doctor

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Doctors have long recommended five fruits and vegetables in daily diets for patients – and beginning Friday in St. Louis Park, they'll actually begin prescribing them.

Health Partners announced Park Nicollet in St. Louis Park will give children who get a physical or receive immunizations a $10 voucher for fruits and vegetables to be redeemed at Cub Foods stores in the Twin Cities.

“Providing this voucher to families in a medical setting sends a powerful message that to be in the best health, everyone should eat five fruits and vegetables every day,” Park Nicollet pediatrician Tonya Bryan, MD, says in the press release. “It gives physicians a tool to talk to families about making better-for-you food choices and it may reach families who would not otherwise choose fresh fruits and vegetables.”

FOX 9 reports the program will reportedly run through October at Park Nicollet's St. Louis Park Clinic, and may expand if the demand is there, organizers say.

The Park Nicollet program mirrors a similar initiative in White Bear Lake that started in May.

KARE 11 said Health Partners and Children's Hospitals and Clinics began the pilot program, in which doctors write prescriptions for fruits and vegetables during well child visits for kids ages 5 to 12.

The program – where $10 vouchers for fruit and vegetables are handed out to five different area grocery stores – is part of the clinics' effort to battle childhood obesity.

An estimated 3,500 families are expected to get prescriptions for fruits and vegetables through the Park Nicollet program, the hospital says in a press release.

According to FOX 9, a study of Minnesota students conducted in 2013 found that 60 percent of fifth-graders ate fruit once per day or less, and 75 percent ate vegetables once a day or less.

The doctors' fruits and vegetables program isn't the only initiative aimed at the well-being of children. Earlier this year, a pair of pharmacists in Watford City, North Dakota, created a "monster spray" to help children sleep at night who were troubled by thoughts of monsters in their bedrooms.

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