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Keywords

Food habits, Fruit, Nutrition, Obesity, Vegetables

Abstract

Obesity is an epidemic in the United States. Over 61% of U.S. adults and 58% of Nevada adults have Body Mass Index’s (BMI) that classify them as either overweight or obese (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System [BRFSS], 2005). According to a recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, obesity was the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States behind tobacco use (Mokdad, Marks, Stroup & Gerberding, 2004).

While obesity and overweight are complex, multi-factorial health conditions, an important contributor to the overweight and obesity epidemic is poor dietary habits. One of the major public health nutrition education efforts in the past few years has been to encourage Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables. Current dietary guidelines recommend consuming between 5 and 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day depending on age and gender. A person’s physical activity level and age determine how many calories they need each day and their calorie needs determine how many servings of fruits and vegetables they should eat each day. Only 23% of adults nationwide and 22% of Nevada adults are currently meeting that recommendation, most at the low end (BRFSS, 2005).