Working to make the healthy choice the easy choice. We’re not eating healthfully enough, according to a newly-released report from the CDC.
“We definitely know that people don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables.”
Amy Meinen is Nutrition Coordinator for the Wisconsin Nutrition Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention Program within the Department of Health Services. Meinen says there are many factors as to why people don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, including availability, dislike, affordability, time investment, lack of knowledge about nutritional value and preparation, or sheer laziness.
“We know lower-income individuals, unfortunately, tend to consume less fruits and vegetables than higher-income individuals. We also know education plays a factor. Individuals who are more highly educated tend to consume more fruits and vegetables.”
Meinen says Wisconsin officials have been working on increasing access to fruits and vegetables, including the ‘Got Dirt?‘ gardening initiative — a program designed to assist with the implementation of school, community, and child care gardens. Also, the USDA-funded Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program provides free fresh fruits and vegetables to children of participating elementary schools. Meinen says it all counts: fresh, frozen, juice, dried, and canned.
The CDC report says only 33% of adults consume the recommended servings of fruit and only 27% for vegetables — even worse for high school students. Meinen points out that the elderly population does a fairly good job of eating a significant amount of fruits and veggies. Folks zero to 64 years old are falling behind.