Too few americans eating their fruit and veg, cdc report

Too few americans eating their fruit and veg, cdc report

Not enough Americans are eating their fruit and veg: a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that not one state is meeting national objectives for consumption of fruit and vegetables.

The report, titled State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, 2009, was published by the CDC on Tuesday 29 September.

Under the Healthy People 2010 policy, states are expected to meet a target where at least 75 per cent of people are eating the recommended two or more daily servings of fruit, and at least 50 per cent of people are eating three or more servings of vegetables every day.

But the CDC figures, based on surveys, show that only 33 per cent of adult Americans are eating at least two or more servings of fruit a day, and only 27 per cent are eating three or more servings of vegetables.

The worst offenders are high school students, where surveys show only 32 per cent are eating at least two servings of fruit, and only 13 per cent said they ate at least three servings of vegetables a day.

Director of CDC′s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, Dr William H. Dietz told the press that:

"This report will help states determine what is taking place in their communities and schools and come up with ways to encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables."

Dietz emphasized the importance of a diet high in fruits and vegetables. It helps children grow healthily, and helps people of all ages keep to a healthy weight and avoid getting chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, all of which also add to the health care costs of the US.

The report covers not only consumption but also three key areas of policy and environment:

  • Healthier Food Retail: only 8 states have a policy to improve healthier food retailing, such as improving the number of full-service grocery stores in areas where there aren't any, increasing healthier foods in smaller grocery stores, and promoting healthier food through giving information at the time of purchase.
  • Availability of Healthier Foods in Schools: Only 1 in 5 middle and high schools offer fruits and non-fried vegetables in vending machines, school shops or snack bars, although 21 states now have a policy to support farm-to-school programs to increase access to fruits and vegetables and teach children about nutrition and agriculture.
  • Food System Support: 20 states have a state-level food policy council, and 59 local food policy councils exist across the US. A systems approach to food looks at the role of growers, processors, retailers, and all stages of getting fruits and vegetables from where they are grown to where they are consumed. Food policy councils review these systems and make recommendations about how to improve them.
CDC epidemiologist Dr Heidi Michels Blanck said:

"We have seen the tremendous benefit of state and local officials, health professionals, employers, food store owners, farmers, school staff, and community members working together on food and nutrition issues."

"Their efforts can help to increase the availability of affordable healthier food choices such as fruits and vegetables," she added.

-- more info on the report

Source: CDC Newsroom.

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