(NaturalNews) Less than 10 percent of high school students in the United States meet the federally recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"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, " said William H. Dietz, director of the Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Division of the CDC. "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."
In 2007, the CDC surveyed both adults and high school students on their daily consumption of fruits or vegetables. Even though they are considered less healthy than whole fruits, fruit juices were counted toward daily fruit intake goals.
Even so, only 32 percent of the 100,000 students surveyed said they ate at least two servings of fruit per day, while only 13 percent consumed at least three daily servings of vegetables. Less than 10 percent ate enough of both.
The numbers among adults were similar for fruit consumption, and only slightly better for vegetables. Thirty-three percent of adults consumed at least two servings of fruits per day, while 27 percent consumed at least three servings of vegetables.
Details of the results varied by state, with Arkansas and North Carolina scoring significantly below the average and Vermont and other New England states scoring significantly above it. The researchers found that states with more farmers markets per capita than the national average tended to have higher rates of fruit and vegetable consumption. Schools in states scoring above average were also more likely to make fresh fruit available on campus.
The study calls attention to how far the government is from achieving its goal of getting 75 percent of people to consume two daily fruit servings and 50 percent to consume three daily vegetable servings by 2010.
"This is a call for states, communities, schools, and families to support increased fruit and vegetable consumption,'' researcher Heidi Blanck said.