The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, whose members account for the majority of fresh fruit and vegetable production in the state, issued this statement about the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

“The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association is encouraged by new dietary guidelines released by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.

“Eating more fruits and vegetables is a simple, but important weapon in fighting the obesity epidemic in this country. Many chronic health problems that afflict Americans today stem from being overweight and not eating right: heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and other diseases. Prevention through proper nutrition is far less costly than treatment after the onset of illness.

“The guidelines recommend making half of our plate vegetables and fruits — an easy way to incorporate more healthy produce into our diets.

“Replacing unhealthy foods with more daily servings of vegetables and fruits is key in improving health. Parents and schools must establish a good dietary foundation for children by encouraging them to eat more vegetables and fruits, which will start them on a lifelong path of healthier eating.

“Florida farmers supply much of the fresh vegetables and fruits that Americans enjoy. We lead the nation in production of oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, sweet corn, snap beans, cucumbers, squash and watermelons. We're second in production of strawberries, bell peppers and tangerines. Florida's grower community is proud to play a role in offering Americans a bountiful supply of healthful, nutritious produce.”

The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association is an agricultural trade organization representing Florida's producers of fruits, vegetables and other crops.