- MEASURE DETAIL
Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables is important to overall health as they contain essential vitamins, minerals and fiber that may help protect from chronic diseases.
The current dietary guidelines recommend that at least half of your plate consist of fruit and vegetables and that half of your grains be whole grains. This combined with reduced sodium intake, fat-free or low-fat milk and reduced portion sizes lead to a healthier life.
Data collected for this measure focus on the consumption of vegetables and fruits at the recommended five portions per day. These data are collected through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
Nutritional information is abundant and overwhelming, but two sound starting points for information are the CDC resources about healthy weight and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute DASH nutrition plan. The DASH eating plan was originally developed as an eating plan to reduce high blood pressure, i.e. hypertension. (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.) However, the plan also represents a healthy approach to eating for those who do not have a problem with hypertension.
Access to healthy food can also be a challenge. The United States Department of Agriculture identifies areas of the country that are “food deserts”, areas where healthy, wholesome foods are less readily available.
- Percent of adults who reported that they consumed fruits and vegetables five or more times per day.
The measures tracked by America's Health Rankings are those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For a state to improve the health of its population, efforts must focus on these measures, these determinants of health.
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