High-quality fruits and vegetables have strong influence on a person's meal as healthy foods, says a team of scientists at Montana State University in Bozeman. The findings of the study are published in the journal Food Security on January 23rd, 2018.
"Fruit and vegetable desirability is lower in more rural built food environments of Montana, USA using the Produce Desirability (ProDes) Tool", says the scientists.
The scientists developed and used a food environment measure, the Produce Desirability (ProDes) Tool, to assess consumer desirability of fruits and vegetables. With the tool, the scientists found fruit and vegetable desirability is lower in more rural areas of Montana.
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 c 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 quality," she added.