Health Buzz: Most Americans Skimp on Fruits and Veggies

Stem cell funding ban temporarily lifted; 5 ways to save at the pharmacy.


Too Few Americans Meeting Fruit and Veggie Recommendations, Survey Says

Perhaps a trip to the salad bar—or an orchard—is due: Most Americans aren't eating enough fruits and vegetables, new federal statistics show. A decade ago, 34 percent of people ate fruit at least twice a day, meeting the government's recommended daily intake, and 2009 showed a slight dip to 32 percent, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published Thursday. As for vegetables, only about 26 percent of Americans met the recommended three servings per day, a rate that hasn't budged since 2000. When broken down among states, Tennessee was No. 1 for veggie consumption, with 33 percent of its population hitting the three-servings-daily goal. The District of Columbia was tops for fruit-eating, with 40 percent of adults downing at least two servings each day. The results, based on telephone surveys with more than 420,000 adults, suggest that Healthy People 2010, a government initiative launched in 1979, will fall far short of its goals. The campaign aimed to get 75 percent of adults meeting fruit-intake guidelines and 50 percent meeting veggie recommendations by the end of the year.

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  • Stem Cell Funding Ban Temporarily Lifted

    A ban on government-funded embryonic stem cell research has been suspended, a temporary victory for the Obama administration. The U.S. Court of Appeals lifted the ban Thursday, allowing dozens of experiments to continue—for now. The move permits the National Institutes of Health to provide $78 million in promised funding to 44 scientists. In August, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth issued an injunction that froze federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The ruling was based on a 1996 amendment that prohibits federal money from being used for scientific research that destroys human embryos. The government can continue funding embryonic stem cell research while a full appeal of the case is processed; both sides have until September 20 to file written arguments. Thursday's stay came after the Obama administration told the court that lifting the ban could save research mice from being euthanized, cells from starving, and other experimental materials from being wasted, in addition to providing scientists with their paychecks, The New York Times reports.

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    • Drug Discount: 5 Ways to Save at the Pharmacy

      With our nation still mired in a deep recession, many of us are having a tough time paying for prescription drugs—especially those for chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. In fact, a Consumer Reports survey last year found that 28 percent of Americans have taken drastic steps to cut costs, like not filling their prescriptions, skipping dosages, and cutting pills in half without getting their doctor's OK. There are, however, far safer approaches for saving money on prescription medications, family physician Kenny Lin writes for U.S. News. Try one of these strategies:

      First, don't assume new drugs are superior. Prescription drugs aren't like software and cellphones. Newer versions aren't necessarily better and may occasionally be inferior to older and less expensive pills. While prescription Clarinex for seasonal allergies is more expensive than over-the-counter Claritin, studies suggest it's no more effective. And prescription Nexium is certainly a pricey way to treat acid reflux when most heartburn sufferers can get substantial relief from cheaper, generic omeprazole. Doctors were once excited about Vioxx for arthritis pain; but quickly switched patients away from ibuprofen, since Vioxx was thought to be easier on the stomach, but later regretted it when Vioxx was withdrawn from the market after being linked to heart attacks and strokes. [Read more: Drug Discount: 5 Ways to Save at the Pharmacy.]