UPDATE: The week before last I mentioned that only 9 percent of the population consumed five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. In a related study, a questionnaire was given to 943 grade school children who recorded their total food intake for five consecutive days. Results showed that only a few foods accounted for most of their total intake. Of the top 25 foods, 17 exceeded recommended levels of fat, saturated fat or sodium by at least 50 percent. Fruits accounted for only 6 to 7 percent of the total selections, and vegetables accounted for 15 to 17 percent.

This study suggests that children also have a problem getting enough fruits and vegetables in their diets (no surprise). However, since food practices and eating preferences are established early in life, parents should be extremely interested in improving the quality of the diet presented to their children.QUESTION: I have been eating a low-fat/

low-sugar diet for some time but have not experienced a weight loss. Is it possible to eat too much, even of the right kinds of food? Thank you for your answer.

ANSWER: It is much more difficult to eat too much food when the diet is high in vegetables, fruits and grains and low in fats and sugar because the caloric density (the number of calories per volume of food) is so much lower. However, it is possible to overeat even with this better quality diet. For instance, a slice of whole wheat bread could contain from 70 to 100 calories. If you ate 12 slices a day, you could have up to 1,200 calories from the bread intake alone.

The key to getting the proper intake is moderation; try to eat a moderate amount of food from all of the basic food groups. If you have a problem with eating too much, take one moderate serving of whatever you have prepared for any meal and let that do. Then, if you get hungry, eat some low-fat snack between meals as needed.


- Exercise. Keep exercising 30 to 40 minutes a day. Increase the intensity of your activity as your body becomes more fit. Do not work so hard that you feel uncomfortable or take an excessively long time for recovery. Continue with 25 abdominal curls and 15 modified pushups. Increase to 20 half-squats.

- Diet. You should be now drinking skim milk and eating whole wheat (grain) bread with no butter or margarine. You should be eating three meals a day, and the evening meal should include a low-fat meat (chicken, turkey, fish) two or three times a week. You should not be eating too many foods high in salt and oil (potato chips, processed meats, etc.). You should have increased your intake of vegetables and fruits to a total of five a day.

Our consultant dietician, Barbara Higa, suggests that you begin drinking more water this week; from six to eight glasses a day.