A new report from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US has found that only one in every ten consumers in the country are eating the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables.
The study, published in the CDC's 'Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report' and covering all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2013, outlined that just 13.1 per cent of the study's respondents were meeting fruit intake recommendations.
Figures were even worse for vegetables, the study showed, with only 8.9 per cent consuming enough to hit federal dietary guidelines.
"Eating more fruits and vegetables adds nutrients to diets, reduces the risk for heart disease, stroke, and some cancers, and helps manage body weight when consumed in place of more energy-dense foods," the report authors pointed out.
As a result, the CDC called for increased promotion and other efforts to raise consumption in adults and children.
"Because fruit and vegetable consumption affects multiple health outcomes and is currently low across all states, continued efforts are needed to increase demand and consumption," the report noted. "Improving fruit and vegetable consumption for adults might start with improving intake during childhood."
Some of the CDC's recommendations included greater education in schools and the workplace, as well as other measures.
"Better dietary practices earlier in life might lead to better practices later in life, and places where children learn and play can have an integral role in improving intake," the report said. "For example, school districts, schools, and early care and education providers can help increase children's fruit and vegetable consumption by meeting or exceeding current federal nutrition standards for meals and snacks, serving fruit and vegetables whenever food is offered, and training staff to make fruit and vegetables more appealing and accessible.
"Improving fruit and vegetable accessibility, placement, and promotion in grocery stores, restaurants, worksites, and other community settings might improve intake in adults," the report added. "For example, work sites can make it easier for employees to make healthy food choices and create social norms that support healthy eating by creating policies to ensure that fruits and vegetables are provided at work-site gatherings, including meetings, conferences, and other events."