Under a new city program, doctors at Boston Medical Center can now write prescriptions for Hubway memberships, as a low-cost exercise option for low-income residents.
Under Prescribe-a-Bike, patients will pay only $5 for an annual membership in the bike-sharing system, which gets them an unlimited number of 30-minute Hubway rides. Patients also get a free helmet.
"Obesity is a significant and growing health concern for our city, particularly among low-income Boston residents," said BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh, adding that statistics show that close to one in four low-income Boston residents is obese, almost double the rate for higher-income residents. "Regular exercise is key to combating this trend, and Prescribe-a-Bike is one important way our caregivers can help patients get the exercise they need to be healthy." A recent study of the health benefits of the London bike share system found that using bike share had a positive overall impact on health, particularly among older users.
The city hopes to enrol 1,000 low-income residents in the program.