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Most Americans' Fruit, Veggie Consumption Falls Short

Only 40 percent of the U.S. population ate recommended amounts in 2000

FRIDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Only 40 percent of Americans heeded the U.S. government's advice to eat five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables between 1999 and 2000, and new guidelines call for up to six-and-a-half cups-a-day, researchers report in the September issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Patricia M. Guenther, Ph.D., R.D., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Alexandria, Va., and colleagues analyzed 24-hour recall of food and beverage intake by 8,048 participants in a national survey in 1999-2000 and 14,963 participants in a national 1994-1996 survey.

The researchers estimated that from 1999 to 2000, only 40 percent of the population ate the then-recommended five or more half-cup servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Only 0.7 percent of boys between ages 14 and 18 meet new recommendations for their age, while 48 percent of 2- and 3-year-olds meet current targets.

"Americans need to consume more fruits and vegetables, especially dark green and orange vegetables and legumes," the authors write. "Nutritionists must help consumers realize that, for everyone over age 3 years, the new recommendations for fruit and vegetable intakes are greater than the familiar five servings a day."

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