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Increasing Fruit And Vegetable Consumption Essay

2586 words - 10 pages

Despite the proven benefits of adequate fruit and vegetable consumption to health promotion and disease prevention as well as national efforts to increase consumption to recommended levels, data suggest that the average individual’s daily intake continues to fall below recommendations for many Americans1. In a community assessment of Nacogdoches County in Texas, multiple risk factors for inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption were identified, including: low income level, poverty status, unemployment status, Black ethnicity, low level of education, and currently exhibiting another detrimental health outcome. Multiple risk factors are intricately intertwined, suggesting inadequacy due to unavailability, higher relative cost, low perceived value, lack of social encouragement, and low preference.
Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is an objective of the nationally adopted health goals, Healthy People 20202. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, three basic benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption support recommendations for increased intake. Firstly, fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients frequently insufficient in American diets. In addition, their consumption has been associated with decreased risk of chronic illness. Finally, they promote caloric balance3. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended 4 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day and the MyPlate campaign by the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that half of an individual’s plate, when filled for any meal, consist of fruits and vegetables4,5. Social and physical factors are thought to determine diet. Social factors include knowledge and attitudes, skills, social support and acceptance of behaviors, media influences, and public policies while physical determinants of diet include access to and availability of diverse foods of high nutritive value3. Additionally, exposure or lack of exposure to a wide variety of healthful foods throughout the lifetime establishes preference for and acceptance of these foods6.
Nacogdoches County, located in rural East Texas, has an estimated population of 64,524 persons7. In 2007, members of Nacogdoches County, with the Texas Department of State Health Services, performed a community needs assessment. This assessment recommended greater emphasis on consistent nutrition programs for low-income groups, and suggested more rigorous advertisement campaigns for health services and dissemination of health-related information. “Alcohol abuse, poor eating habits and lack of good nutrition, smoking tobacco, obesity, and drug abuse” were listed as the five most common health-related problems in the community. The county is located in Public Health Administrative Region 4/5N which tends to have higher risk of inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption than the state of Texas or the nation with % at risk according to …. cite. This survey showed males at greater risk...

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