Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fruits & Vegetables and Health Care

Mr. Southern and I are watching C-SPAN for the coverage on the Health Care bills- one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) political topics in the United States right now. While I'm not about to jump into the middle of the debate with my lovely readers, I wanted to share a fascinating program I discovered last Fall at one of my Produce conventions (attended for work).

Image via Daily Dose of Imagery

The program? Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). In short, the program uses funding to disseminate research results from the Department of Agriculture and to help low-income families and individuals learn how to purchase and prepare healthy dishes. EFNEP is available in all 50 states and 6 US territories.

What I find amazing is the great cost:benefit ratio this program has, when looking at the cost of the program versus and the benefit of reduced health care costs. In California, for example, $1 invested in nutrition education yielded between $3.67 and $8.34 in health care savings (research by Amy Block Joy, George Goldman, and Vijay Pradhan). See Research Studies of the EFNEP.


95% of adults reached through the program reported improved diet, including the equivalent of one additional cup of fruits and vegetables. To learn more about the program, visit here.

While there were significant improvements in the consumption of fruits and veggies, most adults in the study remained below recommended levels. I would bet that many of our fruit and veggie intakes are below the recommended levels... and I'd also guess that it is not due to lack of access or economic hardship.

via Chloe'sBlog

Honestly, I have to stop and say, what the hell am I doing!? Yes, I'm still going to enjoy a few bad-for-me things (for example, I LOVE the improved chocolate:peanut butter ratio in the Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs--> less chocolate, more peanut butter). But I must do a better job of planning out meails to ensure that I enjoy more fresh produce. Because it's yummy and good for me! (Remember, in the study mentioned above, $1 spent in eductation about food yielded a roughly $4-$8 reduction in health care costs. I know what I need to eat.... what would happen if I actually did it all the time!?)
And because I care about y'all, I'd like to encourage you to up the number of fresh fruits and veggies you eat as well. Not because I'm so good at it, or on a soap box... just because it's good for you!

via Lost Forest After Dark

Have a great start to the week!



  1. I had to smile reading this post. I have been on my soap box as of late saying the same thing!! If everyone added more fruits an vegetables in their diet, their health would benefit from such an easy change.


  2. Great post! Eat what Mother Nature gives us and stop supporting the processed 'food' produced in labratories and factories! We all need to go back to common sense eating ~ and remember, we are what we eat!

  3. I do think Americans are getting much more health conscious. I love the painting with the bicycle!

    Art by Karena.

    Come and follow and I will have a giveaway soon! Maybe even two!

  4. Well said. We all should join you in consuming more fruits and veggies. Well, I know I should. Good news is that in Spring in Summer, it seems to get easier!

  5. Great post! I need to get better at eating more things in their natural form, like just how they came from the earth. So much healthier then the packaged stuff for sure!

  6. Very inspirational! I have been trying to eat healthier because peanut butter and chocolate are one of my favorite unhealthy combinations.

  7. I'm definitely a fan of focusing our $$ on preventative care and education -- and I think this is an important step.

    Dave and I have been (slowly) learning to eat better over the past few years. Now that we're no longer 22, we can't exactly eat whatever we want and maintain our figures (and our cholesterol!).

  8. I do love my fruits and veggies....but am going to have RUN out to try the improved eggs. More peanut butter?

  9. love fresh ingredients... and this post... that last photo is AMAZING...

  10. I will check out this program. Having been raised on a fruit farm and vineyard, I grew up eating vegetables and fruits and will say that we have made much improvement in the States when it comes to nutrition. However fruits and vegetables that are grown organically are still far too expensive for most of the population. also, we are still the world of instant gratifications and far too many kids are fed on prepared or fast foods. i should be speaking, i have been eating so unhealthy these past weeks...not good for the waistline..

  11. If only many would realize that fruits and vegetables are mostly what our body needs then many will surely be healthy. Thanks for the facts. Great post indeed!

  12. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Love the idea and spend most of my days introducing my daughters to as much fresh produce as possible and letting them help me pick the recipes and prepare the dishes...AMAZING how their involvement encourages them to try it (and usually like it)!!

    Just found your blog and glad to be here!!!


  13. good thoughts - extra work on healthy eating is always worth it!

  14. I adore anything fresh and delicious!! x

  15. Eating healthy food is the guarantee of the future long and healthy life. If you're keen to be aways in perfect form, this source may be quite awesome for you to visit


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