Categorized | Agriculture, Health

Hawaii adults rank higher than national average in fruit, vegetable consumption

MEDIA RELEASE

Organic oranges at Suncloud Farm

Organic oranges at Suncloud Farm

A national report card on healthy eating habits for the first time provides Hawaii data on fruit and vegetable consumption, environmental supports and policies that may help Americans eat more fruits and vegetables.

The State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, 2009 showed that the percentage of Hawaii’s adults eating fruits or vegetables or a combination of fruits and vegetables is higher than the national average.

The percentage of Hawaii’s adolescents that are consuming vegetables is about the same as the national average. However, the percentage of Hawaii’s adolescents that are consuming fruits is actually lower than the national average. (See data tables below)

Over an eight year span, the number of adults in Hawaii eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day has risen from 22.4 percent in 2000 to 28.7 percent in 2007, representing a 28 percent increase in fruit and vegetable consumption among adults in Hawaii.

“A diet high in fruits and vegetables is important for optimal child growth, management of weight, and prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, all of which currently contribute to health care costs in Hawaii,” said Health Director Chiyome Fukino. “This tool reinforces the importance of our work in Hawaii’s communities and schools and identifies policies that can be improved to promote healthy eating.”

The new report card highlights consumption and three key policy and environmental areas, including:

Healthier Food Retail:
Retailers, such as supermarkets and grocery stores, that stock a variety of high-quality fruits and vegetables, are a critical asset for the health of residents. 80.7 percent of census tracts in Hawaii have healthier food retailers located within the tract or within a half mile of tract boundaries, compared to a 72 percent national average.

Availability of Healthier Foods in Schools:
Schools are in a unique position to influence and promote fruit and vegetable intake among youth, school staff, parents and community members. Hawaii is among 21 states that have a state policy for Farm to School programs that can increase fruit and vegetable access, as well as nutrition and agriculture knowledge among children in school.

Food System Support:
A systems approach to food considers many factors involved in getting fruits and vegetables from farm to consumer including growers, processors, retailers, and consumers. Food Policy Councils and related coalitions are typically an organized, multi-stakeholder organization that attempts to support systems change directed at improved food environments. Hawaii does not have a state-level Food Policy Council. Nationally, there are 20 states with a state-level policy and 59 local councils.

The CDC reports shows Hawaii, along with all other states in the country are not meeting national objectives for consumption of fruits and vegetables. With a national Healthy People 2010 goal of increasing the proportion of Americans eating at least two fruits daily to 75 percent and increasing the proportion of Americans eating at least three vegetables daily to 50 percent, the report found only 39.1 percent and 29.6 percent of Hawaii adults met the goals, respectively, and only 24.4 percent and 14.2 percent of adolescents in grades 9-12 in Hawai‘i met the goals, respectively.

“When state and local officials, health professionals, employers, food store owners, farmers, school staff, and community members work together, their efforts can increase the number of residents who live healthier lives by increasing the availability of affordable healthier food choices such as fruits and vegetables,” said Fukino.

The Fruit and Vegetable Report Card – United States: 2009 is available on the CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Web site www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/. The website also provides many other resources that support states and communities to make changes in the policy and environmental supports around fruits and vegetables, including CDC’s Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States.

CDC is also a partner in the National Fruit & Vegetable Program and has a number of resources for September National Fruits & Veggies – More Matters Month available at ts of living up on the www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov

The state Department of Health Healthy Hawaii Initiative is partly funded out of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. The program currently funds 25 states to address the problems of obesity and other chronic diseases through statewide efforts coordinated with multiple partners. The program’s primary focus is to create policy and environmental changes that will improve the health of places where Americans live, work, learn, and play, and is working to build lasting and comprehensive efforts to address obesity and other chronic diseases through a variety of nutrition and physical activity strategies.

For further information contact:
Lola H. Irvin, M.Ed., Program Manager
Hawaii State Department of Health
Tobacco Settlement Project/Healthy Hawaii Initiative
Phone #: (808) 586-4488
E-mail: lola.irvin@doh.hawaii.gov

Alice Silbanuz, Public Education Coordinator
Hawaii State Department of Health
Healthy Hawaii Initiative & Communications Office
Phone #: (808) 586-4434 or 722-5381 (cell)
E-mail: alice.silbanuz@doh.hawaii.gov

Fruit and Vegetable Report Card – United States: 2009 Data Tables (click on them for large view)
www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/
fruits-veggies-table1

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