While we eat our fair share of pizza and french fries (and then some), Americans don't consume nearly enough fruits and vegetables. And there's some discouraging news on the topic today: As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, a nationwide campaign (.pdf) launched five years ago to get people to eat more produce has been shown to be ineffective:
The [National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance] released a report card (.pdf) on its progress so far, and while there were improvements in some areas - including a handful of specific plans to make produce more widely available to the public - the campaign isn't working yet...
Adult consumption of produce has held steady over the past five years, according to figures from the fruit and vegetable group. But fruit and vegetable consumption decreased among American teenagers, who were eating 2 percent less fruit and 6 percent less vegetables in 2009 compared with 2004.
So what can be done to get consumers to eat more pomegranate and less pizza? The report identifies three strategies and recommendations:
- Increase the accessibility of fruits and vegetables in communities, schools, worksites, and restaurants.
- Strengthen nutrition education programs and promotion efforts that give consumers the skills and motivation they need to make better food choices.
- Align federal funding priorities to be consistent with federal Dietary Guidelines.
And in the article, Jo Ann Hattner, a dietician who teaches at Stanford, provides a few tips for readers:
Hattner recommends that people who are having a hard time eating enough produce take small steps - learn to cook a few simple vegetables that taste good, and keep things like carrot sticks and pre-packaged salad mix on hand.