National Nutrition Month: New obesity statistics in hand, state apple group wants New Yorkers to enjoy eating healthfully

Fishers, N.Y. – Concerned by bleak obesity statistics released last month, the state’s apple industry group wants New Yorkers to know that there’s a delicious weight loss solution close at hand: New York state apples.

“Over the past decade, obesity rates have fallen only for preschoolers, that’s it,” says Linda Quinn, a Registered Dietitian and consultant to the New York Apple Association. “It’s time for the rest of us to step up our game, and the good news is that New York state apples make good nutrition easy.”

March is National Nutrition Month, which presents a great opportunity to focus on eating better, says Quinn.

“This year’s National Nutrition Month theme is ‘enjoy the taste of eating right’, and the number one way to eat right is to eat more fruits and vegetables,” says Quinn. “Many people don’t realize that increasing their intake of produce daily can change their lives.”

The keys to eating more produce, says Quinn, are to make it available, make it easy and most importantly, make it a habit. For example, simply slicing apples is an easy way to get people eating more fruit, she says. Apples, says Quinn, are nutrient dense, a top source of fiber, and because they are grown right here in New York state there is a flavor for everyone.

Quinn suggests 10 easy ways to eat more apples, improving health with every bite:

  1. Add chopped apples to morning breakfast cereal.
  2. Add an apple to every lunch bag, brief case or backpack.
  3. Cut up apples and place in lunchboxes with peanut butter for dipping.
  4. Add thinly-sliced apples to green salads, along with goat cheese and walnuts.
  5. Add sliced apples to slaw mix for the perfect sweet and crunchy side dish.
  6. Add apple slices to stir fries and casseroles.
  7. Roast apples with onions and olive oil for a flavorful side dish.
  8. Make homemade applesauce with cinnamon on the weekend.
  9. Serve sliced apples with cheese and crackers at dinner parties.
  10. Try baked apples for a simple and low-sugar dessert.

For apple recipes and information about New York state varieties, visit

The new national obesity statistics, researched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were published Feb. 26 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The CDC data compares obesity rates from 2003-2004 to 2011-2012. Over that period, older children made no progress against obesity, with nearly 18 percent of 6 to 11 year olds, and 20.5 percent of 12 to 19 year olds, being obese. Researchers reported that overall there were no changes in obesity rates among adults.

In New York state, nearly one-quarter (24.5 percent) of adults in New York State are obese and another 36 percent are overweight, an estimated 8.5 million residents.  During the 2010-2011 and 2011-12 school years, more than one-third (33.8 percent) of public school students were overweight or obese, with 17.6 percent considered obese. Rates of obesity are higher among public school students in middle and high school (18.2 percent) than among elementary school students. New York data is per New York State Department of Health.