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At Least 5 Servings of Fruits and Veggies a Day Needed for Maximum Health Benefits

Aug. 24, 2004 -- Most Americans still aren't eating enough fruits and vegetables, despite the highly publicized "five a day" recommendations, a new survey shows.

In fact, the survey shows most Americans aren't sure how many servings per day of fruits and vegetables they need for a healthy diet. Most major health organizations recommend eating five or more servings per day of fruits and vegetables to reap the maximum health benefits.

But researchers found 46% of Americans say they typically eat only one or two servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and another 37% eat three to four servings per day. A mere 12% of Americans said they eat the recommended five or more servings per day.

Fruits and Veggies Ignored

The survey showed that only about 40% of Americans recognized the need to eat five or more servings per day of fruits and vegetables, and a fifth said eating only one to two servings a day was fine.

Other findings include:

  • Nearly half of households with small children aged 2-11 say the children eat only one to two servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Most parents encourage their children to eat fruits and vegetables at meals, but only 17% serve fruits and vegetables as snacks.
  • Nearly three-fourths of adults say they would like to eat more fruits and vegetables as snacks.
  • More than half of Americans say better prices may encourage them to eat more fruits and vegetables.

The survey of more than 3,000 households nationwide was conducted in February by A. C. Nielsen and commissioned by the Produce for Better Health Foundation.

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