Friday, July 24, 2009

Access to fresh fruits and vegetables the key to fighting obesity

With ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables, you're more apt to meet the USDA's daily fruit and vegetable recommendation of consuming 7-9 services a day.

But as Americans we do have incredible access to fresh produce. Our grocery stores are a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables from around the world. But if you go to the grocery store only once a week, your fruits and vegetables may not be as fresh as you'd like by the end of the week.

Produce is highly perishable mostly because they are 80% water; it's what gives fresh vegetables and fruits their characteristic crunchy or juicy texture.

Canned fruits and vegetables should be a last ditch choice since they are often high in salt or lower in nutrients.

Per calorie, fruits and vegetables are more filling and deliver the most in nutrients than anything found across the food pyramid.

Eating fruits and vegetables deliver nature's best bang for your food consumption satisfaction. It's the natural diet food. The next time someone tells you the number of calories in a banana, start listing all the nutrients this slender fruit delivers. The calories are worth it; better to forgo the cafe latte.

The solution
Where do Americans go more frequently than the grocery store? The gas station. Let's pack the gas station's convenience stores with produce. Don't laugh.

The once notoriously non-obese Europeans bought their produce within walking distance of their homes. They would buy produce on a daily basis, as a part of their daily regimen. This shopping habit is undergoing a change.

In the last decade, supermarkets have built their big box structures in the suburbs requiring driving and driving the small businesses selling produce in the neighborhood toward extinction. Recent studies show that this trend has kick-started a European obesity problem. This problem is nowhere near the American problem, but nonetheless the study shows an increase in European weight.

The French government, seeing the problem, has come to the conclusion that access to fresh fruit is vital to their countrymen's health. The government has given gas stations incentives to carry fresh produce. It's something Americans should think about.

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