A survey of teens by the Ohio Department of Health found that 83% wear seat belts but only 7.2% eat fruits and vegetables at least twice daily. The 2011 Youth Risk Behavioral Survey also showed that 30% of teens reported a height and weight that was in the overweight or obese range.
McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King have all added "fresh" options to their menus, trying to capitalize on the fresh-food movement started by Subway and Chipotle. NPD Group said the chains want to attract weight-conscious Americans but will have a hard time overcoming their fries-and-burgers image.
Foods that have hidden vegetables added in are not a total substitute for eating fresh produce, nutrition experts say. Registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner says trying to meet nutrition guidelines using fortified foods leaves people without the water, fiber and unprocessed nutrients they would get from fresh fruits and vegetables, and could result in high calorie intake.
Pawtucket-based Farm Fresh Rhode Island has joined with Thundermist Health Center to be a pilot site for the Fruits and Veggies Rx community wellness project, which gives prescriptions for fruits and vegetables to at-risk patients who can redeem them at the farmers market. Thundermist health professionals will offer nutrition counseling clinics, and the goal of program is to measure the effects of increasing household consumption of fresh produce.
People who consumed a minimum of eight servings of fruits and vegetables -- with a portion size equaling about 80 grams -- daily had a 22% lower risk of dying from ischemic heart disease compared with people who had less than three servings per day, according to a study in the European Heart Journal. However, the lead study author said the findings must be interpreted carefully because other factors may influence the link between healthy eating and heart disease risk.