Homegrown produce boosts fruit, veggie consumption

Nisan 14, 2007 at 2:07 pm

Eating homegrown or locally grown fruits and vegetables is associated with better overall nutrition patterns, according to a study of rural Missouri families.

“This is true for both the parents and for their preschool children,” Marilyn S. Nanney of the University of Utah, Salt Lake City told Reuters Health.
Nanney and her colleagues point out in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association that children in rural areas of the US may be especially prone to being overweight and having poor dietary habits. To see if having homegrown produce available made a difference, the researchers interviewed 1,658 parents about their families’ fruit and vegetable intake in the pervious 7 days.

They discovered that parents who reported “almost always” eating homegrown fruits and vegetables were 3.2 times more likely to get five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, as is recommended, compared with those who reported “rarely or never” eating homegrown produce.

Similarly, the preschoolers of parents who ate homegrown fruits and vegetables “almost always” were 2.3 times more likely to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day than preschoolers of parents who rarely or never ate homegrown produce.

According to Nanney, “families that ate more homegrown produce had more fruits and vegetables in the home; their children preferred more kinds of fruits and vegetables as a ‘favorite’; and parents reported that their children saw them choosing fresh fruits and vegetables (role modeling) more often.”

The results of this study, she added, identify eating homegrown produce as associated with some key principals of improving people’s eating habits that are known to work: “children seeing their parents eating healthfully, more fruits and vegetables in the home to choose from, and children identifying more fruits and vegetables as their favorite.”

“At a time when lifestyle behaviors like eating habits contribute significantly to the nations leading killers (cancer, obesity), identifying ways to improve the eating patterns among families is critical,” Nanney said.

Increasing access to homegrown produce — through school and community gardens, farmer’s markets, and government sponsored nutrition programs — may impact dietary intakes in a “meaningful, cost-effective way,” Nanney concluded.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Dietetic Association, April 2007.
Reuters Health

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