Posts Tagged “fruit and vegetable consumption”

New Research Reveals America’s Fruit & Vegetable Consumption is Eroding

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By Produce for Better Health Foundation

Despite decades of industry and public health efforts, America’s fruit and vegetable consumption continues to decline, according to newly released State of the Plate: America’s Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Trends research from the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH).

The research shows people are eating fruits and vegetables less frequently, down nearly 10% since 2004, when the PBH State of the Plate reporting began. The most significant contributors to this decline have been a 16% decrease in vegetable consumption frequency, followed by a 15% reduction in juice intake. In the past five years alone, overall consumption has declined by 3%, indicating the trend is worsening every year.

Every five years, PBH conducts an in-depth analysis of fruit and vegetable consumption patterns in partnership with The NPD Group, which tracks how, when and where we eat fruits and vegetables. PBH’s research report provides valuable insights to better understand Americans’ eating behaviors and, ultimately, identifies opportunities to effectively help people enjoy more fruits and vegetables in all forms (i.e., fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice), more often.

“It is no exaggeration that we are in the midst of a fruit and vegetable consumption crisis in our country. Further, this underconsumption is not only pervasive among all age groups but it is also persistent,” said Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, president and CEO of PBH. “The PBH State of the Plate research report shows most Americans currently eat fruits and vegetables on just one occasion or less each day. A decline in fruit and vegetable eating occasions does not bode well for the future of fruit and vegetable intake and, most importantly, Americans’ health and happiness.”

“We were already long falling behind in our consumption goals, but much of this new data is especially striking considering we are also in the midst of a worsening obesity epidemic as well as a global pandemic in which consuming foods that support our immune system like fruits and vegetables is even more critical,” Reinhardt Kapsak added. “Research continues to show that eating more fruits and vegetables is the single most important action people can take for better health and happiness. Yet, we’re clearly failing Americans in making this action easy and enjoyable, given the continued decline in consumption. The time is NOW to rethink and reimagine how we improve fruit and vegetable consumption in America.”

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CU Research Finds Cash Can Help Stressed-Out People Eat More Produce

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By Sarah Kuta

At the end of a long day, it’s tempting to order a large pizza or grab a drive-through cheeseburger for dinner. But, if offered cash, you might be persuaded to eat fruits and vegetables instead (or at least add them as a side dish).

That’s what researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found to be true when they studied the effects of stress and incentives on fruit and vegetable consumption. The results of their study, titled “Stress and number of servings of fruit and vegetables consumed: Buffering effects of monetary incentives,” were published in October in the Journal of Health Psychology.

These results are an important contribution to the growing body of literature about the psychology of incentives and other public health topics. More broadly, the findings support the implementation of health programs that incorporate incentives—for example, companies that offer lower health insurance premiums for employees who exercise or visit the doctor for preventative care.

“What we know is that people tend to eat less healthy when they are stressed,” said Angela Bryan, professor of psychology and neuroscience and one of the study’s co-authors. “We wondered if we associated a more positive thing with healthy behaviors, is there any way we might be able to offset that stress effect? So, if you see a carrot less as something like, ‘Ugh, gosh, I have to eat a carrot’ and more, ‘I get paid to eat a carrot,’ does that mitigate the effects of stress on healthy eating?”

To get an answer to those questions, Bryan and graduate students Casey Gardiner and Sarah Hagerty asked a group of 128 participants to record their stress levels and the number of fruit and vegetable servings they ate each day for three weeks. Some study participants got paid $1 for each serving of fruits and vegetables they ate, up to $5 per day, while other participants received no incentive.

The experiment confirmed that people ate fewer servings of fruits and vegetables on days when they reported feeling stressed. But, notably, participants who received cash incentives maintained their daily fruit and vegetable consumption, even when stressed.

The incentives, in essence, shielded the participants from the negative effect stress would typically have on their diets. Even the researchers were surprised at the clear link between cash, food choices and stress.

“Obviously, we had the hypothesis that incentives might buffer the effects of stress and diet, but I didn’t think it would be this clear,” said Bryan. “I thought there might be a glimmer of something going on, so when we actually saw the effects and the size of the effects, I was pretty stunned.”

The researchers noted in their paper that future studies might improve upon their design by using a more objective measurement method, rather than having participants self-report. Future research might also track participants over a longer period of time to measure whether—and for how long—they kept up the healthy behaviors.

On a more personal level, the findings suggest that we should find ways to reward ourselves for making healthy choices—watching TV as a reward for eating fruits and vegetables, for example. 

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Eating More Produce in Youth Linked To Healthy Heart

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VegBananas1by American Heart Association

Researchers found that eating more fruits and vegetables as young adults was associated with less calcified coronary artery plaque 20 years later. Coronary artery calcium can be measured by a CT scan to detect the presence and amount of atherosclerosis, a disease that hardens arteries and underlies many types of heart disease.

The researchers divided data from 2,506 study participants into three groups, based on their daily fruit and vegetable consumption. Women in the top third ate an average of nearly nine servings of daily fruits and vegetables and men averaged more than seven daily servings. In the bottom third, women consumed an average 3.3 daily servings and men 2.6 daily servings. All servings were based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.

Researchers found that people who ate the most fruit and vegetable at the study’s start had 26 percent lower odds of developing calcified plaque 20 years later, compared to those who ate the least amount of fruits and vegetables.

Previous studies have shown a strong association between eating more fruits and vegetables and reduction in heart disease risk among middle-age adults. However, this is the first study to examine whether eating more fruits and vegetables as young adults could produce a measurable improvement in the health of their heart and blood vessels years later.

“People shouldn’t assume that they can wait until they’re older to eat healthy—our study suggests that what you eat as a young adult may be as important as what you eat as an older adult, ” said lead author Michael D. Miedema, M.D., senior consulting cardiologist and clinical investigator at the Minneapolis Heart Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Researchers studied health information from adults in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, a government-funded study of black and white young adults, which started in 1985.  At the study’s start, participants provided a detailed diet history, information on other lifestyle variables and cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure, whether or not they smoked cigarettes, weight and others. Twenty years later, participants underwent a CT scan to check for buildup of calcium on the walls of the arteries of the heart, which is calculated as a coronary artery calcium score. Higher coronary calcium scores are associated with a higher risk for heart attacks and other coronary heart disease events.

“Our findings support public health initiatives aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable intake as part of a healthy dietary pattern,” Miedema said. “Further research is needed to determine what other foods impact cardiovascular health in young adults.”

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New Research On Primary Shoppers’ Attitudes & Beliefs about Eating Produce

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DSCN4701By the Produce for Better Health Foundation

The vast majority of shoppers cite the importance of eating fresh produce, but they also find it to be a hassle, according to a new report.

Since 1991, Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) has been dedicated to producing a healthier America through increased fruit and vegetable consumption.  PBH conducts regular consumer surveys to identify psychosocial factors associated with fruit and vegetable consumption in an effort to monitor progress and inform industry, health influencers, and policy makers.  Primary shoppers were surveyed in 2012 and 2014 and are the basis for PBH’s latest report, Primary Shoppers’ Attitudes and Beliefs Related to Fruit & Vegetable Consumption 2012 vs 2014.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Shoppers Eat More
    • More than 80% of primary shoppers think it’s important to eat fruit and vegetables and nearly that same percentage find them enjoyable to eat.
  • Consuming Fruit & Vegetables Can Be A Chore
    • Concerns about spoilage is cited as more of a problem in 2014 than two years prior when it comes to increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables.
  • Favorability
    • Despite the fact that shoppers recognize the health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables, virtually all forms of fruit and vegetables (fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice) are viewed less favorably in 2014 than two years prior.
  • Communications
    • Primary shoppers report that TV news segments, supermarket flyers or newspaper ads, and signs on supermarket displays are the most effective ways to communicate with them when they are making a food decision.
  • Income Differences
    • Lower income households consume fewer fruit and vegetables than higher income households, yet they equally perceive that they consume enough.
  • Motivated Purchases

Two out of three shoppers are favorable toward the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters® national health campaign and brand and appreciate the message as a reminder to eat more fruit and vegetables.

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Annual Research On Mom’s Attitudes & Beliefs

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IMG_6871+1By Produce for Better Health Foundation

Hockessin, Del. – Produce for Better Health conducts an annual survey of moms with children 10 years of age and under to assess fruit and vegetable consumption, barriers to increased consumption, and awareness of the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters brand.  Key findings over time indicate that moms continue to strongly believe in the benefits of fruits and vegetables and continue to be concerned that their families are not consuming enough of them.  The 2008-2009 recession had a significant negative impact on moms’ attitude and behavior regarding fruits and vegetables.  In addition, while the Internet remains the top preferred source of information regarding fruits and vegetables, family members were becoming more influential, while other sources were becoming less so.

Providing moms with practical information to increase their family’s consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially while on a budget, will help them follow through with their intentions.  PBH’s consumer website, MoreMatters.org, developed specifically with moms in mind, continues to be a growing, reliable source of information for this audience.  Insight gleaned from the annual surveys, outlined in PBH’s PBH’s Moms’ Attitudes and Beliefs Related to Fruit & Vegetable Consumption, 2007-2014 report, assist PBH in our continued effort to reach moms.

To make it easy to identify relevant findings, PBH developed an infograph visually highlighting key results of the 2014 annual mom survey.  PBH donors and supporters are able and encouraged to reproduce and utilize the infograph as needed.  PBH is pleased to recognize the sponsors of the 2007-2014 research report: Bayer CropScience, Del Monte Fresh Produce, Monsanto, and Produce Marketing Association.

About Produce for Better Health Foundation

Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) fruit and vegetable education foundation.  Since 1991, PBH works to motivate people to eat more fruits and vegetables to improve public health.  PBH achieves success through industry and government collaboration, first with the 5 A Day program and now with the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters public health initiative.  Fruits & Veggies—More Matters is the nation’s largest public-private, fruit and vegetable nutrition education initiative. To learn more, visit www.PBHFoundation.org and www.FruitsandVeggiesMoreMatters.org. Follow Fruits & Veggies—More Matters on Facebook or Twitter.

PBH is also a member and co-chair with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) of the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance (NFVA), consisting of government agencies, non-profit organizations, and industry working to collaboratively and synergistically achieve increased nationwide access and demand for all forms of fruits and vegetables for improved public health.  To learn more, visit www.NFVA.org.

 

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Study Finds Fruits and Veggies Help Reduce Risk of Death

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GAtks0314 157Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by 42 percent compared to eating zero portions, claims a recent study published in the Journalof Epidemiology & Community Health by researchers from the University College London (UCL).

The research revealed the more fruit and vegetables people ate, the less likely they were to die at any age. Eating seven or more portions reduced the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25 percent and 31 percent respectively. Interestingly, vegetables were found to have a significantly higher health benefit than fruit.

“We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering,” says Dr Oyinlola Oyebode of UCL’s Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, lead author of the study. “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. Vegetables have a larger effect than fruit, but fruit still makes a real difference. If you’re happy to snack on carrots or other vegetables, then that is a great choice but if you fancy something sweeter, a banana or any fruit will also do you good.”

This is the very  research to link fruit and vegetable consumption with all causes including cancer and heart disease, across a nationally-representative population, as well as the first to measure health benefits per portion.

Researchers studied from 2201 to 2013 the eating habits of more than 65,000 people, which were said to be representative of the English population. The data was collected as part of the Health Survey for England.

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See How Your State Ranks in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

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DSCN2951A Centers for Disease Control report rates fruit and vegetable consumption by state and offers others measuring sticks for consumer access to healthy food.  California leads the U.S. in several categories.

Known as the State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, the report can be used to show how states support consumption of fruits and vegetables and help identify opportunities for improvement in fruit and vegetable access.

The CDC report is the second of its type, with the first report  issued by the CDC in 2009.

The 2013 report reveals that adults in the U.S. consume fruit about 1.1 times per day and vegetables about 1.6 times per day.

The daily median intake for fruits (times per day) was highest in California, the District of Columbia, Connecticut and New Hampshire, while the states for lowest fruit consumption were Mississippi and Oklahoma.

California also led the U.S. in daily vegetable consumption while Iowa, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota shared the low mark.

Only about 70 percent of all census tracts in the U.S. have at least one store that offers a variety of affordable fruits and vegetables.   The greatest access to stores that offer fruits and vegetables were California (82 percent), New York (79 percent), Florida (79 percent), the District of Columbia (78 percent) and Oregon (77 percent). On the other end of the spectrum, Vermont has the lowest percentage of census tracts (44 peracent) with a store that offers fruits and vegetables, followed by South Dakota (46 percent), Alaska (49 percent) and North Dakota (50 percent).

The U.S. average for farmers’s markets per 100,000 population is 2.5, according to the report. Vermont, Wyoming, Iowa, and New Hampshire all have more than seven farmers markets per 100,000 state residents, while Texas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah all reported less than two farmers markets per 100,000 population.

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