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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.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Derrick Z. Jackson
As much as hurricanes Katrina and Maria upended African American and Latinx families, the landfall of the coronavirus brings a gale of another order. This Category 5 of infectious disease packs the power to level communities already battered from environmental, economic, and health injustice. If response and relief efforts fail to adequately factor in existing disparities, the current pandemic threatens a knockout punch to the American Dream.
'We Need People's Bailout, Not Polluters' Bailout': Climate Groups Move to Preempt Big Oil Giveaway Amid Pandemic
By Andrea Germanos
A coalition of climate organizations strongly criticized President Donald Trump's in-person Friday meeting with the chief executives of some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world, saying the industry that fueled climate disaster must not be allowed to profiteer from government giveaways by getting bailout funds or preferred treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.
An Important Note
No supplement, diet, or lifestyle modification — aside from social distancing and practicing proper hygiene — can protect you from developing COVID-19.
The strategies outlined below may boost your immune health, but they don't protect specifically against COVID-19.
By Zak Smith
It is pretty amazing that in this moment when the COVID-19 outbreak has much of the country holed up in their homes binging Netflix, the most watched show in America over the last few weeks has been focused on wildlife trade — which scientists believe is the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make no mistake: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is about wildlife trade and other aspects of wildlife exploitation, just as surely as the appearance of Ebola, SARS, MERS, avian flu and probably COVID-19 in humans is a result of wildlife exploitation. As a conservationist, this is one of the things I've been thinking about while watching Tiger King. Here are five more:
By Hector Chapa
With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.
But can these masks be effective?