Practicingand maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical for the overall health andwell-being of an individual. The consumption of fruits and vegetables is animportant component for leading a healthy lifestyle. Good nutrition plays arole in the prevention of several chronic diseases—cardiovascular diseases,diabetes, obesity, and respiratory diseases. Despite the benefits associatedwith healthy eating, many individuals engage in unhealthy dietary habits.

Insufficientfruit and vegetable (FV) consumption has become a major public health concernin the United States as adolescents consume lower than the recommended amounts(Dwyer, 2017). The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends daily fruitand vegetable consumption for adolescents who participate in less than 30minutes of daily physical activity. The daily fruit and vegetablerecommendation for males is 2.5 cups of fruits and 3.0 cups of vegetables andfor females, 1.5 cups of fruits and 2.5 cups of vegetables are recommendeddaily (U.

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S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 2015). The dietary guidelines forfruit and vegetable consumption are designed to provide information to helpAmericans improve and maintain their health by encouraging them to make healthychoices. Health Benefits of Fruit and VegetableConsumption             The benefits of fruit and vegetableconsumption on an individual’s health have been supported in manyepidemiological studies. Fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that are responsiblefor preventing risk factors associated with chronic diseases. Vitamin C, anantioxidant found in fruits and vegetables, inhibits cell damage through oxidation(Van Duyn & Pivonka, 2000). The oxidation of cholesterol lowers anindividual’s risk for heart disease.

Dark-green leafy vegetables contain a richsource of folic acid, which plays a protective role in the development ofcancer (Van Duyn & Pivonka, 2000). Flavonoids are found in fruits andvegetables and inhibit the development of cancer by removing carcinogens frombody cells (Van Duyn & Pivonka, 2000). Research shows that folic aciddecreases homocysteine levels in the blood. Elevated homocysteine levels in thebody are linked to cardiovascular diseases—stroke and congenital heart disease.The nutrients found in vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage containsulfur.

Sulfur helps in the removal of carcinogens and other foreign substancesin the body by increasing enzyme activity (Van Duyn & Pivonka, 2000). Fruitsand vegetables are rich in fiber and help control cholesterol levels,decreasing lipids in the blood and lowering the risk of heart disease (Van Duyn& Pivonka, 2000).Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer{Introduction: Chronic Disease(CVD and Cancer)}. The World Health Organization (WHO) describescardiovascular diseases (CVDs) as the leading cause of deaths worldwide.Cardiovascular diseases resulted in approximately 17.7 million deaths in 2015(WHO, 2017). Recent studies have found that CVDs can be prevented by addressingunhealthy eating habits. A healthy diet includes the consumption of whole fruits(fresh, canned, frozen, and dried fruit) and vegetables (dark green, red and orange,legumes, starchy, and other) (USDA, 2015).

Cancer is the second leading causeof death, being responsible for nearly 1 in 6 deaths worldwide in 2015 (WHO,2017). One-third of cancer-related deaths are associated with low fruit andvegetable intake, a leading risk factor for cancer (WHO, 2017). The Instituteof Cancer Research reported that diets high in fruits and vegetables couldprevent at least 20% of all cancer incidence (Van Duyn & Pivonka, 2000). Thereis a plethora of evidence supporting the role of fruits and vegetables on theprevention of chronic diseases.