Sept. 29, 2009 – A new report from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention says no state in the U.S. in 2009 is
meeting national objectives for consumption of fruits and vegetables. It
is probably not the fault of America’s senior citizens, however, since a
2007 CDC report found them to be in the age group most likely to eat
fruits and veggies three or more times per day.
The new report released today - “State Indicator
Report on Fruits and Vegetables, 2009” - is the first to provide
state–by–state data about fruit and vegetable consumption and includes
policies that may help Americans eat more fruits and vegetables.
The Healthy People 2010 objectives aim for at least
75 percent of Americans to eat the recommended two or more daily
servings of fruit, and for at least 50 percent of Americans to eat the
recommended three or more servings of vegetables daily.
CDC surveys, however, indicate that only 33 percent
of adults meet the recommendation for fruit consumption and 27 percent
get the recommended servings of vegetables.
The statistics are even
worse for high school students – 32 percent report eating at least two
servings of fruit daily and 13 percent say they eat at least three
servings of vegetables each day.
(See the table on right for consumption by
“A diet high in fruits and vegetables is important
for optimal child growth, maintaining a healthy weight, and prevention
of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers,
all of which currently contribute to health care costs in the United
States,” said Dr. William H. Dietz, director of CDC′s Division of
Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity.
“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.”
The report highlights consumption and three key
policy and environmental areas:
Healthier Food Retail: Retailers, such as
supermarkets and grocery stores that stock a variety of high–quality
fruits and vegetables are a critical asset for the health of residents.
● Only eight states have a policy for healthier
food retail improvements, which can help increase the number of
full–service grocery stores in areas where they are unavailable,
increase the availability of healthier foods in small food stores, and
promote healthier foods through information at the point of purchase.
Availability of Healthier Foods in Schools:
Schools are in a unique position to influence and promote fruit and
vegetable intake among youth, school staff, parents, and other community
● Only 1 in 5 (21 percent) middle and high
schools offer fruits and non–fried vegetables in vending machines,
school stores or snack bars.
● 21 states have a policy to support
farm–to–school programs that can increase access to fruits and
vegetables as well as teach school children about nutrition and
Food System Support: A systems approach to food
considers many factors involved in getting fruits and vegetables from
farms to consumers, including the roles of growers, processors and
retailers. Food policy councils are organizations made up of many
agencies and community organizations that look at access of fresh
produce at the community and state levels. These councils make
recommendations about policies and programs such as farm–to–school
programs, community gardens, farmers markets and availability of fresh
produce in supermarkets.
● 20 states have a state–level food policy
council, and 59 local food policy councils exist across the nation.
“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,” said Heidi Michels Blanck, Ph.D., CDC
epidemiologist. “Their efforts can help to increase the availability of
affordable healthier food choices such as fruits and vegetables.”
Fruits & Veggies — More Matters™ is a dynamic
health initiative that consumers will see in stores, online, at home and
on packaging. It replaces the existing 5 A Day awareness program and
will leverage the 5 A Day heritage and success to further inspire and
support consumers to eat more fruits and vegetables, showcasing the
unrivaled combination of great taste, nutrition, abundant variety, and
various product forms (fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice). It
also will build upon the body of science that indicates that increased
daily consumption of fruits and vegetables may help prevent many chronic
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) and Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) are leading this
initiative and are in partnership with other health organizations. The
goal is to achieve increased daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.
For more information on the Fruits and Veggies —
More Matters health initiative, brand and logo, please visit PBH at
www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.* You will also find activities
and tips for getting children involved as well as more recipes.