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Processed food

Low Income Families Eat More Processed Food, Fewer Fruits and Vegetables

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: processed food, health news, Natural News


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(NewsTarget) Three studies published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association have found that people with lower income do not consume enough fruits and vegetables, largely due to cost factors.

"Cost is one of the factors often cited as contributing to less fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income populations," wrote Alanna Moshfegh in an introductory article. "Cost, as well as convenience, has been shown to be a leading influence on food choice for low-income individuals."

The three articles appear in the November issue of the journal, which is devoted to issues of poverty and nutrition as part of the Council of Science Editors' Global Theme Issue on Poverty and Human Development. More than 230 scientific journals have participated on the council.

In a study examining how fruit and vegetable intake are affected by food prices, researchers from the University of California at Davis discovered that in 2005, a low-income family would have to spend between 43 and 70 percent of its entire food budget to eat the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables.

Another study looked at how geography affects fruit and vegetable intake, and a third study compared the dietary health of food-insecure adults with low-income, food-secure adults.

"Fruit and vegetable consumption is becoming a prominent indicator of health because of its potential role in chronic disease prevention," Moshfegh said. This makes it particularly worrisome that fruit and vegetable intake for most people still consistently falls short of U.S. dietary guidelines.

Fewer than 10 percent of U.S. residents are estimated to meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPyramid dietary recommendations.

"Further, those in low-income households were less likely to meet the recommendations," Moshfegh said.

The researchers concluded that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is an important way to improve public health.

"Public policies should examine ways to make fruits and vegetables more affordable to low-income families," the authors of the first study wrote.

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