Oregon is second in the nation for its residents eating their veggies — but even in second place, most folks here aren’t eating enough, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 11 percent of Oregonians are eating the recommended two to three cups of vegetables a day, second only to California, where 13 percent eat enough veggies, CDC researchers report.
Nationwide, only 8.9 percent of Americans are eating two to three cups of vegetables every day as recommended.
Fruit consumption is slightly better. About 14.5 percent of Oregonians are eating the recommended 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit a day, compared with 13.1 percent of all Americans and 17.7 percent of people in California.
Fruits and vegetables are important in lowering a person’s risk of developing chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, said Jordana Turkel, a registered dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
For example, they contain a lot of fiber, which helps control spikes in blood glucose levels by slowing the digestive process, and the fact that they are generally low in fat helps lower cholesterol levels.
“We are seeing now what is going to happen if this trend continues,” Turkel said. “Obesity is on the rise. The rates of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are on the rise. I think we are seeing the effects of all of this now.”
The CDC researchers concluded that society needs to do more to promote fruits and vegetables in the average diet, mainly through the marketplace.
“Substantial new efforts are needed to build consumer demand for fruits and vegetables through competitive pricing, placement, and promotion in child care, schools, grocery stores, communities and worksites,” they declared in their report, which appeared in the CDC Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report.
Dennis Thompson is a contributing health care reporter based in Salem.
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