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Very few Americans take care of their health: Diet and exercise lacking

Friday, September 21, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: health trends, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Only one in seven people in the United States eats enough fruits and vegetables and gets enough exercise, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, men rank consistently worse than women in this regard.

The CDC conducted a telephone survey of 356,112 people, assessing their diet and exercise habits with a series of questions. The goal was to determine what percentage of people meet the government's recommendations to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and to engage in moderately intense exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or vigorous exercise for at least 20 minutes a day, three days a week.

Moderately intense exercise is defined as activity that causes small increases in breathing or heart rate -- such as bicycling, gardening, brisk walking or vacuuming. Vigorous exercise is any activity that causes a large increase in breathing or heart rate -- including aerobics, running or heavy yard work.

The study found that only 14.6 percent of those surveyed were getting both enough exercise and enough fruits and vegetables. This broke down into 16.6 percent of women and 12.4 percent of men.

Sorting the results by ethnic group, researchers found that American Indians and Alaska Natives scored the best, with 19.6 percent of women and 17.5 percent of men getting enough vegetables and exercise. In contrast, only 17.4 percent of white women, 14.8 percent of Latino women and 12.6 percent of black women met the government standards, along with 12.6 percent of white men, 11.7 percent of Latino men and 11.2 percent of black men.

The report's authors hypothesized that a lack of exercise facilities in predominantly nonwhite, lower-income communities might account for some of the observed difference.

"These results underscore the need to promote diets high in fruits and vegetables and regular activity among all populations in the United States and among racial and ethnic minority communities in particular," the report said.
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