The study shows implications of access to high-quality fruits and vegetables

March 23, 2018, Montana State University
Credit: Anna Langova/Public Domain

Researchers at Montana State University in Bozeman have published a study showing how access to high-quality fruits and vegetables—or lack thereof—strongly influences whether healthy foods make it to a person's breakfast, lunch or dinner plate.

"Fruit and vegetable desirability is lower in more rural built environments of Montana, USA using the Produce Desirability(ProDes) Tool" was published Jan. 23 in the journal Food Security.

The researchers developed and used a food environment measure, the Produce Desirability (ProDes) Tool, to assess consumer desirability of fruits and vegetables. With the tool, the researchers found fruit and vegetable desirability is lower in more of Montana.

"This is important because it has the potential to impact consumer selection and consumption in rural areas, furthering disparities," said Selena Ahmed, MSU professor of sustainable food systems and one of the study's authors. Carmen Byker Shanks, professor of food and nutrition and sustainable food systems, was co-author. Ahmed and Byker Shanks, both in the College of Education, Health and Human Development's Department of Health and Human Development, also serve as co-directors of the Food and Health Lab at MSU.

The research findings indicate a potential for long-term health implications based on access to high-quality fruits and vegetables, Byker Shanks said.

"It turns out that the overall quality of food available in a food environment really matters," said Byker Shanks. "Whether or not there's access to quality fruits and vegetables in a given area affects the daily choices people are able to make about what they eat. The food choices made each day add up to a person's overall dietary quality and impacts long-term health."

Although food deserts—areas lacking affordable, high-quality food—can exist anywhere, Byker Shanks said that in Montana they're most prevalent in rural areas.

"We have measured fruit and vegetable quality in several different ways across rural and urban areas of Montana," she said. "We're seeing real disparities along rural and urban lines in grocery stores, where fresh and quality in Montana's rural grocery stores tend to be significantly lower than in urban settings.

"The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends five to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day—an amount that is difficult to achieve if the fresh fruits and vegetables are not as desirable to the consumer due to ," she added.

Explore further: Tips for choosing frozen fruits and veggies

More information: Selena Ahmed et al, Fruit and vegetable desirability is lower in more rural built food environments of Montana, USA using the Produce Desirability (ProDes) Tool, Food Security (2018). DOI: 10.1007/s12571-017-0748-1

Related Stories

Tips for choosing frozen fruits and veggies

February 5, 2018
(HealthDay)—Fruits and veggies are great ways to get important nutrients, try new tastes, and add low-calorie sides to your meals.

Yogurt, but not milk, may lower hip fracture risk

December 18, 2017
(HealthDay)—High intake of fermented milk products, like yogurt, in combination with a high intake of fruits and vegetables, is associated with lower hip fracture rates in women, according to a study published online Nov. ...

New school meal standards significantly increase fruit, vegetable consumption

March 4, 2014
New federal standards launched in 2012 that require schools to offer healthier meals have led to increased fruit and vegetable consumption, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. ...

Who you are influences what you eat more than food shopping environment, study finds

April 25, 2017
Who a person is may matter more than where they shop for food in predicting their consumption of unhealthy food, according to a new RAND Corporation study that challenges notions that building supermarkets in "food deserts" ...

Lack of transportation limits healthy food access among Washington State residents

February 8, 2017
Having convenient or reasonable access to supermarkets is often associated with healthier diets and a lower risk for obesity among neighborhood residents. However, simply improving residents' proximity to grocery stores may ...

Recommended for you

A topical gel that can prevent nerve damage due to spraying crops with pesticides

October 22, 2018
A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in India has developed a topical get that can be used by farmers to prevent nerve damage due to chemical crop spraying. In their paper published in the journal Science ...

Community health workers can reduce hospitalizations by 65 percent and double patient satisfaction with primary care

October 22, 2018
Community health workers—trusted laypeople from local communities who help high-risk patients to address social issues like food and housing insecurity—can help reduce hospital stays by 65 percent and double the rate ...

Modern conflict: Screen time vs. nature

October 22, 2018
Even rural kids today spend more time in front of screens and less time outdoors, according to a new study of middle-school students in South Carolina.

Moderate exercise before conception resulted in lower body weight, increased insulin sensitivity of offspring

October 22, 2018
Men who want to have children in the near future should consider hitting the gym.

Juul e-cigarettes pose addiction risk for young users, study finds

October 19, 2018
Teens and young adults who use Juul brand e-cigarettes are failing to recognize the product's addictive potential, despite using it more often than their peers who smoke conventional cigarettes, according to a new study by ...

Self-lubricating latex could boost condom use: study

October 17, 2018
A perpetually unctuous, self-lubricating latex developed by a team of scientists in Boston could boost the use of condoms, they reported Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.