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Many Americans Can't Afford to Eat Right
Date:11/22/2007

Cheap fruits and veggies often unavailable to poorer, rural consumers, studies find

THURSDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- In this land and season of plenty, low-income and rural Americans continue to have difficulty finding healthy foods that are affordable, a new study finds.

One study shows that low-income Americans now would have to spend up to 70 percent of their food budget on fruits and vegetables to meet new national dietary guidelines for healthy eating.

And a second study found that in rural areas, convenience stores far outnumber supermarkets and grocery stores -- even though the latter carry a much wider choice of affordable, healthy foods.

"I think it's a matter of raising awareness among health professionals -- and that could be dieticians or diabetes educators or even doctors -- that when we typically give people a recommendation to eat more fruits and vegetables, that is actually so much more complicated in a rural environment," said Angela Liese, study author of the second report and an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

"There needs to be some thought given to how do you make these recommendations," Liese said.

Both studies appear in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, a themed issue on poverty and human development.

New dietary guidelines recommend that Americans eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, up from five servings in the previous guidelines.

Despite clear evidence that eating your vegetables can ward off heart disease, diabetes and cancer, only 40 percent of Americans meet the old guidelines and less than 10 percent meet the new guidelines, according to one 2006 study.

People with more money eat more fruits and vegetables than those with less money, research shows. In turn, poore
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