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American adults still aren't eating enough fruits and vegetables

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Americans don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC advises adults to eat between one-and-a-half to two cups of fruit each day, along with two to three cups of vegetables. Yet a 2013 CDC telephone survey analyzing eating habits revealed that fewer than 20 percent of adults in the US are consuming these recommended servings. Focusing on these healthy foods may help combat obesity, the agency wrote in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Currently, more than one-third of American adults are obese, according to the latest study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Since eating more fruits and vegetables may help combat this trend, the CDC is recommending that new efforts be put in place to both increase demand and consumption of these foods. The agency says that fruits and vegetables need more competitive pricing, as well as better placement and promotion throughout schools and communities.

Only 6 percent met the daily vegetable recommendations in Mississippi

The report also found wide variations in fruit and vegetable intake from state to state. In California, 18 percent of adults ate the recommend amount of fruit, the highest of any state; the lowest was Tennessee, where just 8 percent of people ate enough. And only 6 percent met the daily vegetable recommendations in Mississippi, the lowest out of any state, as opposed to a high of 13 percent in California.

Eating enough of these foods is key for getting enough nutrients — ones that are often under-consumed, such as fiber, according to the CDC. "Eating more fruits and vegetables adds nutrients to diets, reduces the risk for heart disease, stroke, and some cancers, and helps manage body weight when consumed in place of more energy-dense foods," write CDC researchers in the Morbidity and Mortality report.