There’s definitely a good reason why every adult remembers being sternly told to “eat your vegetables,” and why those same adults tell their children the same thing. Our bodies need fruits and vegetables. They’re an essential component to our good health. So FoodFacts.com was dismayed to read information today that clearly shows that not many of us have really gotten the message.
In every state in the U.S., fewer than one in five American adults are eating enough fruit and vegetables, new federal data shows.
In a report published July 9 using nationwide surveys that looked at produce intake in 2013, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that while states vary when it comes to fruit and vegetable consumption, they all could use improvement in the produce department. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consume 1.5 to two cups of fruit every day, along with two to three cups of vegetables. Fruits and vegetables add necessary dietary nutrients, which help maintain healthy body weight and keep health risks like heart disease, stroke and some cancers at bay, the CDC reports.
Even so, only 6% of people in Mississippi met government recommendations for vegetables, while 13% of people in California met them. Fruit didn’t fare much better. The most fruit-averse state was Tennessee, where only 8% of people met government recommendations, while in California, 18% of people met those recommendations.
The new data, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, reveals that overall, only 13% of the survey respondents met the recommendations for fruit intake and only about 9% met the vegetable intake recommendations. Past research indicates that children in the U.S. are often not meeting produce requirements either, the study authors write.
“Substantial new efforts are needed to build consumer demand for fruits and vegetables through competitive pricing, placement, and promotion in child care, schools, grocery stores, communities, and worksites,” the study authors conclude.
We’ve always thought that the best thing about fruits and vegetables is the variety available to us. If you don’t find one palatable, there are others to try. Incorporating fruits and vegetables into a healthy diet is actually easier than removing or reducing your consumption of other foods. While it may take some thought and some experimentation, the addition of healthy fruits and vegetables into your daily meal planning can, in fact, present you with new flavor combinations and a better overall eating experience. Five a day (or seven as some have stated) doesn’t have to be a chore. Let’s all try to pay more attention to giving our bodies the healthy, clean and beneficial foods they deserve. A little extra thought can go a long way to getting your five a day!