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

Like shark attack and the lottery, unconscious bias influences cancer screening

August 17, 2018
What do shark attack, the lottery and ovarian cancer screening having in common? It turns out our judgments about these things are all influenced by unconscious bias.

Moderate carbohydrate intake may be best for health

August 17, 2018
Eating carbohydrates in moderation seems to be optimal for health and longevity, suggests new research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Phantom odors: One American in 15 smells odors that aren't there, study finds

August 16, 2018
Imagine the foul smell of an ash tray or burning hair. Now imagine if these kinds of smells were present in your life, but without a source. A new study finds that 1 in 15 Americans (or 6.5 percent) over the age of 40 experiences ...

US drug overdose deaths surge amid fentanyl scourge

August 16, 2018
US drug overdose deaths surged to nearly 72,000 last year, as addicts increasingly turn to extremely powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl as the supply of prescription painkillers has tightened.

Parental life span predicts daughters living to 90 without chronic disease or disability

August 15, 2018
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that women whose mothers lived to at least age 90 were more likely to also live to 90, free of serious diseases and disabilities.

Widespread declines in life expectancy across high income countries coincide with rising young adult, midlife mortality

August 15, 2018
The ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States is a key contributor to the most recent declines in life expectancy, suggests a study published by The BMJ today.

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.