Uncle Sam Wants You To Eat Your Veggies

Despite growing public awareness about the importance of diet in preventing chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, Americans are not consuming any more fruits and vegetables than they were a decade ago. A recent state-by-state analysis by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) using data from telephone surveys found that in 2009, fewer than one-third of Americans eat two or more daily servings of fruit, and just over one-quarter eat the three or more daily servings of vegetables. In fact, since 2000, overall fruit and vegetable consumption has been on a flat-to-downward trend.

The government’s Healthy People 2010 objectives for fruit and vegetable consumption aim to have 75% of Americans consuming at least two daily servings of fruit and at least 50% of people consuming at least three daily servings of vegetables. In the last decade, the percentage of Americans consuming 2 servings per day of fruit dropped from 34.4 to 32.5 percent. Not one state met either target consumption level in 2009, with a downward trend actually occurring in 22 states. Moreover, the Healthy People 2010 objectives are still far below the USDA’s recommended servings of fruits and vegetables for average healthy Americans.

Although individual peoples’ needs may vary, for average healthy Americans, the USDA recommends 4 servings (2 cups) of fruit daily – preferably from whole fruit with beneficial fiber – rather than from fruit juice.  In addition, they suggest 5 servings of vegetables, including dark green leafy and deep orange veggies, listed by type on the MyPyramid.gov site.

The survey results point to a great deal of variation in consumption among states, which may indicate inconsistencies in access, availability, or affordability. The CDC notes that community-wide interventions with local, state, and national support will be necessary to address these possible barriers. Unfortunately, most states do not have advisory councils on food policy and many states have few farmers markets that are set up to accept payment via Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamp, benefits. As the CDC data clearly shows, previous government-led initiatives to promote intake of “5-A-Day” servings of fruits and vegetables have largely been unsuccessful.

On a brighter note, the CDC has recently produced guidelines on strategies to increase fruit and vegetable intakes and does provide financial assistance to 25 states. New initiatives such as First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign and the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program are working diligently to connect consumers with local farmers and to create community-level and family-focused interventions, state by state. Clearly, to be successful, initiatives must involve a teamwork approach joining the efforts of the agriculture, business, and food policy industries, as well as those in health care.

You can gradually make positive changes in your diet and the USDA’s interactive website offers tips for increasing the servings of fruits and vegetables.  Diligence and a little daily effort go a long way toward reaching healthy diet goals and reducing the risks of diabetes, obesity, cancer, and other serious health concerns brought on by a typical Western diet. Remember, discovering new foods and trying new recipes is fun. If you see a vegetable you are unfamiliar with while shopping, pick one up and give it a try!

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4 Comments

  • Little-known fact: When we start eating more fruits and veggies, over time we begin LIKING them more, too!

    This is true for almost every person who changes their diet to include a preponderance of fruits and veggies (as much of them as possible to be eaten raw). Increasing fruit and veggie intake also provides us with higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients–in the form designed to be completely digested and absorbed by humans (unlike any supplement!!)–which in turn improves physical function and structural quality of ALL organs and tissues, increases stamina, boosts immunity by reducing susceptability to external invaders, and increases healing time.

    In short, eating more fruits and veggies just plain makes the body work better! Another wonderful “side effect” is making us look and feel at least 10 years younger. Our skin and hair condition improve dramatically, reducing the need for a vast majority of the products we use to try and emulate what our bodies can do naturally if we would only invest a little effort into the proper care and feeding of it.

    If we also make it a habit to eat carbs at separate meals from animal proteins, we can relieve if not completely reverse most diseases/disorders, chronic illness/pain/fatigue, respiratory and digestive problems, yeast/fungal overgrowth, etc… even mental/psychological and genetic issues can be managed better if not completely overcome!

    PLEASE READ any book by Dr. William Howard Hay. He wrote many, and they all have the same advice for healing our bodies and keeping ourselves healthy and pain-free right up until the very end. It’s the same advice he gave his patients for 30+ years, the same advice he used his clinical patients to help them reverse disease without pills or surgery, and it’s the very same advice I’ve relayed here 🙂

    I have followed this advice myself for the last year, and even I can hardly believe how great I look and feel now! I lost 70 pounds in 6 months with no saggy skin. My IBS-D disappeared literally overnight. My chronic fatigue, joint paint, and yeast and bladder infections are a thing of the past. Wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots are disappearing, and my hair looks like I just came from the salon. I’m almost 40 but look closer to 30, I never get sleepy after meals, and I have the energy to do anything I want, whenever I want!

    Words can hardly describe what it’s like to feel like a kid again, but I hope mine have been enough to convince someone to eat better.

  • Little-known fact: When we start eating more fruits and veggies, over time we begin LIKING them more, too!

    This is true for almost every person who changes their diet to include a preponderance of fruits and veggies (as much of them as possible to be eaten raw). Increasing fruit and veggie intake also provides us with higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients–in the form designed to be completely digested and absorbed by humans (unlike any supplement!!)–which in turn improves physical function and structural quality of ALL organs and tissues, increases stamina, boosts immunity by reducing susceptability to external invaders, and increases healing time.

    In short, eating more fruits and veggies just plain makes the body work better! Another wonderful “side effect” is making us look and feel at least 10 years younger. Our skin and hair condition improve dramatically, reducing the need for a vast majority of the products we use to try and emulate what our bodies can do naturally if we would only invest a little effort into the proper care and feeding of it.

    If we also make it a habit to eat carbs at separate meals from animal proteins, we can relieve if not completely reverse most diseases/disorders, chronic illness/pain/fatigue, respiratory and digestive problems, yeast/fungal overgrowth, etc… even mental/psychological and genetic issues can be managed better if not completely overcome!

    PLEASE READ any book by Dr. William Howard Hay. He wrote many, and they all have the same advice for healing our bodies and keeping ourselves healthy and pain-free right up until the very end. It’s the same advice he gave his patients for 30+ years, the same advice he used his clinical patients to help them reverse disease without pills or surgery, and it’s the very same advice I’ve relayed here 🙂

    I have followed this advice myself for the last year, and even I can hardly believe how great I look and feel now! I lost 70 pounds in 6 months with no saggy skin. My IBS-D disappeared literally overnight. My chronic fatigue, joint paint, and yeast and bladder infections are a thing of the past. Wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots are disappearing, and my hair looks like I just came from the salon. I’m almost 40 but look closer to 30, I never get sleepy after meals, and I have the energy to do anything I want, whenever I want!

    Words can hardly describe what it’s like to feel like a kid again, but I hope mine have been enough to convince someone to eat better.

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