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Indiana Works To Improve Nutrition

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, 2009 released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), summarizes for the first time Indiana's data from multiple sources for fruit and vegetable consumption as well as policies and environmental supports that can make it easier for Hoosiers to eat more fruits and vegetables.

The State Indicator Report shows that Indiana, along with all other states in the country, is not meeting national objectives for consumption of fruits and vegetables. The consumption data come from the CDC's health surveillance systems.

The Healthy People 2010 outlines a goal of increasing the proportion of Americans eating at least two fruits daily to 75 percent and increasing the proportion of Americans eating at least three vegetables daily to 50 percent. Currently, only 30 percent and 26.4% of Indiana's adults met the goals, respectively, and only 26.8% and 12.3% of adolescents in grades 9-12 in Indiana met the goals, respectively.

"A diet high in fruits and vegetables is important for optimal child growth, management of weight, and prevention of chronic diseases," said Laura Hormuth, nutrition coordinator for the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Indiana State Department of Health. "This tool will help Indiana determine what is taking place in communities and schools and identify policies that can be improved to promote healthy eating among Hoosiers."

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The new report highlights consumption and three key policy and environmental areas, including healthier food retail, availability of healthier foods in schools, and food system support. Some key Indiana findings are:

· 67.4% of census tracts in Indiana have healthier food retailers located within the tract or within 1/2 mile of tract boundaries, compared to a 72% national average.

· Only 31.7% of middle and high schools in Indiana offer fruits and non-fried vegetables as competitive foods, which is food sold outside the reimbursable school meal programs such as in vending machines, school stores, snack bars. This is over the national average of 20.9%.

· Indiana does not have a state-level Food Policy Council and or any local Food Policy Councils. Nationally, there are 20 states with a state-level policy and 59 local councils.

"Today's release of the State Indicator Report is very timely as we are hosting the 2009 INShape Summit today," said Hormuth. "This year's theme is "Health Lifestyles, Health Communities," and will showcase the strategies and resources available to improve the health of smaller communities. Some of the sessions will deal directly with locally grown fruit and vegetable consumption."