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We are endangering our health by eating so few fruits and vegetables, concludes a new study by National Cancer Institute researchers.

"It's shocking," says Blossom Patterson, lead investigator, to find that 91 percent of Americans do not eat two servings of fruit plus three servings of vegetables per day, as recommended by health authorities.

In fact, on a single day studied by the researchers, almost half of the population ate no fruit or juice and 11 percent ate no fruit or vegetables at all.

People who eat the most fruits and vegetables consistently exhibit lower rates of various cancers, according to numerous studies, says Patterson. And the most popular vegetables among Americans are potatoes and salads. However, she notes, studies find the most anti-cancer benefits from the less-favored "garden vegetables" like broccoli, corn and green beans.

The great discrepancy between what we do eat and should eat, she thinks, shows that Americans do not understand the benefits of such foods. She favors a national campaign to change that.

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