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By Dan Nosowitz
On the heels of our country's very own secular harvest festival, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released new data indicating just how few people are actually regularly eating the fruits of the harvest.
The CDC regularly publishes data on the health of the country, and, appropriately for the season, last week's ominous-sounding Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report includes information on fruit and vegetable consumption.
The CDC's numbers come from a huge phone-based survey to collect data on health and nutrition, and are then compared with the federal nutrition guidelines. Those guidelines are controversial; a recent update attracted anger from multiple sides, owing largely to the basic fact that nutrition science is a complete mess, with studies indicating wildly different conclusions. But what we're talking about here are the fruit and vegetable consumption guidelines, which themselves are not tremendously controversial: dietary guidelines recommend between 1.5 and two cups per day of fruit, and two to three cups per day of vegetables. (The variation is due to gender and age.)
According to those guidelines, the CDC found that a paltry nine percent of people consume the vegetable recommendations, and an only slightly better 21 percent get enough fruit. It probably isn't necessary to talk about why fruits and vegetables are healthful and should be eaten, but in case you want some quick facts, the USDA has several fun and education websites.
What's maybe more important to talk about here is not so much some stereotypical dig at Americans who eat Cheetos instead of kabocha squash, but the fundamental problems of access and education. Programs to try to eliminate "food deserts"—areas without stores that sell fresh food—have had some successes, but other research indicates that the higher cost of fresh food (either real or perceived) and the decreased convenience of preparing food from scratch are still major obstacles to getting this country to eat healthier. Studies have also indicated that eating healthier is highly correlated with education levels.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
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By Bijal Trivedi
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.
By Joe Vukovich
Under the guise of responding to consumer complaints that today's energy- and water-efficient dishwashers take too long, the Department of Energy has proposed creating a new class of dishwashers that wouldn't be subject to any water or energy efficiency standards at all. The move would not only undermine three decades of progress for consumers and the environment, it is based on serious distortions of fact regarding today's dishwashers.
By Emily Moran
If you have oak trees in your neighborhood, perhaps you've noticed that some years the ground is carpeted with their acorns, and some years there are hardly any. Biologists call this pattern, in which all the oak trees for miles around make either lots of acorns or almost none, "masting."
By Catherine Davidson
Tashi Yudon peeks out from behind a net curtain at the rooftops below and lets out a sigh, her breath frosting on the windowpane in front of her.
Some 700 kilometers away in the capital city Delhi, temperatures have yet to dip below 25 degrees Celsius, but in Spiti there is already an atmosphere of impatient expectation as winter settles over the valley.