Eat Your Vegetables

No, it’s not mom saying that. It’s the State of Tennessee, which posted this reminder Thursday to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

The state says that Tennesseans’ consumption of vegetables ranks above the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes questions about diet in an annual telephone survey on exercise, sleep, smoking and other health topics.

We are in the Land o’ the Meat ‘n’ Three, so that makes sense.

About one-third of Tennesseans surveyed said they ate at least three vegetables a day while just 26.3 percent of respondents nationwide said they did.

Not so with fruit, where the numbers were almost exactly reversed. Just 26.4 percent of Tennesseans said they consume fruit twice a day; nationally, about a third of respondents said the same.

State officials seem intent on influencing, via taxes and laws if necessary, what goes from our plates to our bellies.

The related issue of obesity has been targeted by state policymakers, most recently in a five-year plan including strategies such as regulating land use and levying taxes to favor stores that offer healthy food, promoting school gardens and recruiting ministers to help in the effort.

The question of how to reduce childhood obesity was posed to the candidates for governor earlier this month in their first debate, with candidates suggesting education (Mike McWherter) and a good example (Bill Haslam) as solutions, the Cookeville Times reported.