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April 10. 2014 11:58AM

More fruits, veggies needed in NH's diet

New Hampshire residents need to eat even more fruits and veggies.

Adults and adolescents in the Granite State eat about 1.8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, a little more than the national average of 1.6 per day, but far less than the recommended five servings.

"I am pleased to see that our state is on the high end of fruits and vegetables consumption, but we can and should do better for ourselves and our families and New Hampshire," said Dr. Jose Montero, director of public health at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), of the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Titled "State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables 2013," the report does not paint a very healthy picture for New Hampshire or the nation, according to DHHS.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps reduce the risk of cancer and chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables also provide essential nutrients and vitamins, fiber and other substances important for good health, according to the DHHS.

"As more is learned about nutrition and its effects on our overall health, the more important the consumption of fruits and vegetables becomes as part of a healthy diet," said Dr. Montero.

According to the report, in 2013 30.3 percent of adults and 36.8 percent of adolescents in the state reported eating fruits less than once a day, and 17.6 percent of adults and 31.8 percent of adolescents said they ate vegetables less than once a day.

However, the state has fewer healthy or food retailers compared with the national average, the state agency noted.

DHHS is working with the N.H. Kids Count Coalition so that children and their families will be able to access affordable, nutritious food, including fresh fruits and vegetables in their local communities. The goal is for adults to support local farmers' markets and other access points for fresh fruits and vegetables. It is not only good for individuals' health, but for the local economy as well.

To see a list of more than 70 farmers markets across the state, visit the N.H. Department of Agricultural Markets and Food online at http://agriculture.nh.gov/publications-forms/documents/farmers-markets-directory.pdf.


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