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Study finds Hawaii adults eat more fruits and veggies


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POSTED: Saturday, October 03, 2009

The percentage of Hawaii adults eating fruits and vegetables is higher than the national average, but like all other states, Hawaii is not meeting national goals for fruit and vegetable consumption, the state Department of Health reports.

Hawaii adolescents also fall below the national average in daily fruit consumption—24.4 percent compared with 32.2 percent nationally, the Health Department says, citing data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hawaii adolescents are about on a par with their mainland counterparts for daily vegetable consumption. Both are low—14.2 percent in Hawaii and 13.2 percent nationally.

However, the number of isle adults eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily rose from 22.4 percent in 2000 to 28.7 percent in 2007—a 28 percent increase.

“;A diet high in fruits and vegetables is important for optimal child growth, management of weight and prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, all of which currently contribute to health care costs in Hawaii,”; state Health Director Chiyome Fukino said.

“;This tool reinforces the importance of our work in Hawaii's communities and schools and identifies policies that can be improved to promote healthy eating.”;

Key areas cited by the Health Department include promotion of fruit and vegetable consumption in schools, a variety of high-quality fruits and vegetables supplied in supermarkets and grocery stores, and support systems “;directed at improved food environments.”;

Hawaii is one of 21 states with a state policy for Farm to School programs, but it does not have a state-level Food Policy Council, the Health Department said.

The nation's Healthy People 2010 goal is to increase the number of Americans eating at least two fruits daily to 75 percent and those eating at least three vegetables daily to 50 percent.

For fruit consumption, only 39.1 percent of Hawaii adults and 24.4 percent of adolescents in grades 9 to 12 met the goal.

For vegetable consumption, only 29.6 percent of Hawaii adults and 14.2 percent of adolescents met the goals.

”;The Fruit and Vegetable Report Card—2009”;: www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao.