May 27th, 2009 07:36 EST
Americans Say No to Fruits and Vegetables
Americans are not choosing enough fruits and vegetables the United States government stated recently. Therefore, the recommended daily intake is being increased.
At least five servings of fruits and vegetables was the long-standing recommendation, but the United States Department of Agriculture has adjusted the requirement to 2 to 6 ½ cups daily. This change is part of the new MyPyramid food guide which now specifies intake by age and s*x, along with defining the variety of fruits and vegetables to eat.
Dr. Patricia Guenther of the USDA`s Center for Nutrition Policy and her team began a study to see how many people were meeting the new standards. The investigation involved the single-day intake of 8,070 people in the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The study found that only 40 percent were meeting the five-a-day recommendations. The lowest intake was found among girls aged 4 to 8 with only 10 percent reaching the requirement. The highest intake was found in men aged 51 to 70, with 60 percent getting at least five servings of fruits and vegetables.
The new MyPyramid requirements had the lowest percent in boys aged 14 to 18, only eating 0.7 percent of the recommended five cups daily, to 48 percent of children aged 2 to 3, who are expected to eat two cups.
"Nutrition and other health care professionals must help consumers realize that for everyone over age 3 years, the new recommendations for fruit and vegetable intakes are greater, and in many cases much greater, than the familiar five servings a day," Guenther and her team conclude.
Individuals can set-up MyPyramid accounts at www.mypyramid.gov and get detailed information about ones recommended food intake and physical activity level