Americans not getting enough fruits, vegetables

by Eric Schroeder
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ATLANTA — Despite the fact a diet high in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk for many leading causes of death and may play a role in weight management, most Americans still aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables, according to a report released Sept. 10 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The C.D.C. found only about 33% of adults consumed fruit two or more times per day in 2009, and only 26% consumed vegetables three or more times per day, well short of the Healthy People 2010 objectives of 75% for fruit and 50% for vegetables. The study also indicated that the approximately 33% of adults who met the target in 2009 was down from a little more than 34% who met the target in 2000. No significant change was observed in the vegetable target between 2000 and 2009, the C.D.C. said.

The statistics came from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (B.R.F.S.S.), which is a national telephone survey of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

No state met the Healthy People 2010 goal for fruit consumption, with the highest percentage in the District of Columbia at 40.2%, followed by California at 40.1%, and New York and Vermont, both at 38.9%. By comparison, seven states and the District of Columbia exceeded 40% consumption back in 2000. The lowest intake in 2009 was noted in Oklahoma, at 18.1%.

Likewise, no state met the goal for vegetable consumption, either. Leading consumption during 2009 was Tennessee at 33%, followed by the District of Columbia at 32.3%, Maine at 30.6%, Oregon at 30.5%, New Hampshire at 30.4%, and Vermont and Virginia, both at 30.3%. By comparison, Tennessee was the top consumer in 2000 at 43.5%. The lowest intake in 2009 was noted in South Dakota, at 19.6%.

“A number of previous initiatives to promote consumption of fruits and vegetables in the United States have included individual approaches, such as the Fruits and Veggies — More Matters campaign and single-setting interventions, such as community gardens or farmers market voucher programs,” the researchers said. “Despite these initiatives, fruit and vegetable consumption is lower than recommended. Thus, intensified, multi-sector (e.g., agriculture, business, food industry and health care) and multi-setting (e.g., worksite, school, child care and community) approaches are necessary to facilitate healthier choices among all persons in the United States.”
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