Why Can’t Americans Eat Their Fruits and Veggies?

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A large and undisputed body of evidence suggests that eating fruits and vegetables is a preventive measure against cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently found that only 32.5% of American adults ate two daily servings of fruit in 2009, a slight decline from the 2000 survey’s already anemic 34%.

When it comes to vegetables, Americans’ performance is even more shameful. Only 26% ate three daily servings of vegetables, despite this country’s agricultural bounty.

For a truly depressing display, look at a map of fruit and vegetable consumption among high school–aged adolescents by state. With the highest rate of fruit consumption in the U.S. — among senior citizens — at only 42%, it’s no wonder that kids steer clear of the green stuff. Research shows that kids take eating cues from their parents.