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Eating your fruits and veggies? Didn't think so

March 16, 2007|From the Associated Press

ATLANTA — Fewer than a third of American adults eat the amount of fruits and vegetables the government recommends, a trend that has remained steady for more than a decade, health officials said Thursday.

That's "well below" the government's goal of getting 75% of Americans to eat two servings of fruits and having half of the population consume three servings of vegetables each day by 2010, said Dr. Larry Cohen of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The survey, part of a federal health survey of every state, is based on responses from 305,000 adults in 2005. It indicates the country is only about halfway toward meeting its healthy eating goal three years from now.

"We're really concerned with the lack of success in meeting these national goals," said Cohen, who works in the CDC's nutrition and physical activity division.

Although the rate of fruit and vegetable consumption has remained unchanged since 1994, health officials said the goal is still within reach.

"We have more work to do over the next few years," said spokeswoman Rachel Ciccarone.

The survey showed that 27% of adults ate vegetables three times a day, and about 33% ate fruit twice a day. A serving is a half-cup for most fruits and vegetables, one cup for leafy greens.

Senior citizens were more likely than others to eat more veggies, with slightly more than a third of that group eating three or more servings each day. Adults ages 18 to 24 ate the fewest vegetables. Nearly four-fifths of that age category scraped the veggies to the side of their plates -- if they had vegetables on the plate at all.

Seniors also ate the most fruit, with nearly 46% eating two or more servings daily. People ages 35 to 44 ate fruit the least, with fewer than 28% eating the recommended amount each day.

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