CDC Study Shows Teenagers' Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables at Very Low Levels - Yet Another Reason to Stop Negative Messaging About Safe Produce

12/7/2011 12:37 PM


A study recently released by the Centers for Disease Control found that the median number of times high school students were consuming fruits and vegetables was 1.2.  And 28.5% consumed fruit less than once per day while 33% consumed vegetables less than once per day.   What’s even more shocking than these numbers is the lack of attention this study received by the mainstream media, bloggers, foodies, consumer groups, activists and proponents of school foodservice reform.

These consumption numbers are dismal and concerning.  Many teenagers whose bodies are still growing and developing clearly aren’t getting the nutrients needed with their busy schedules which include school, handling homework loads, participating in school activities and sports.  And, the CDC study also showed that consumption deteriorated further as the students got older with seniors in high school consuming a median of 1.2 daily servings while freshmen consumed a daily median of 1.4 servings (still pretty dismal).

While convenience and availability at schools may be contributing causes, repeatedly calling safe products “dirty” just can’t be helpful either.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the groups that spend so much time and effort promoting “dirty” produce lists for their own gain would put those efforts into working with farmers, nutritionists, produce associations and the government to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables?  After all, if these groups are truly concerned about the health of Americans, then maybe raising fruit and vegetable consumption should become a key focus instead of expending efforts raising unwarranted fears about the safety of these healthful foods.

You can learn more about the safety of fruits and vegetables by reviewing this website ( and you can even calculate for yourself the very high number of servings that teenagers, specifically, can eat and still not experience any effect at all from minute amounts of pesticide residues that may be present. 


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