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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #234480

Title: Challenges in promoting fruits and vegetables for obesity prevention

item McCabe Sellers, Beverly
item Lovera, Dalia
item Bogle, Margaret

Submitted to: Experimental Biology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/11/2009
Publication Date: 4/20/2009
Citation: McCabe Sellers, B.J., Lovera, D., Onufrak, S.J., Bogle, M.L. 2009. Challenges in promoting fruits and vegetables for obesity prevention [abstract]. Experimental Biology. 23:102.8.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The rural states of the Lower Mississippi Delta lead the nation in rising prevalence of obesity in adults and children. The purpose of this paper is to describe hurdles to overcome in fruits and vegetables promotion to improve diet and reduce the risks of chronic diseases associated with obesity. The willingness to try new fruits and vegetables was promoted through a fresh fruit and vegetable snack feeding program in a rural summer day camp for three years. Children were more willing to try the snacks than initially reported. The quality of the fresh produce impacted on willingness. Produce was ordered from a leading national food distributor for a weekly delivery. Quality in year 1 was very good. In year 2 quality of fresh produce was generally good. In year 3 with the sharp rise in fuel and food costs, quality of both fresh and canned fruits and vegetables dropped dramatically. Over one in every four cans of apricots and mandarin orange sections arrived dented. Fresh grape tomatoes were not edible. Honey dew melons arrived frozen. Ready-to-use fresh broccoli florettes had bugs. Fresh produce deteriorated within 2-3 days of delivery. Local supermarkets were not readily available to replace foods. Reliance on obtaining quality fresh produce in rural areas is questionable for both research studies and lifestyle changes. Availability and quality of fresh produce in rural, low-income area present public health challenges.