Parents wanting to avoid exposing their children to pesticides may opt for fresh organic fruits and vegetables, but this move may not be any better or worse.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, science has not proven that eating pesticide-free food makes people any healthier.

“Theoretically there could be negative effects, especially in young children with growing brains, but rigorous scientific evidence is lacking,” said Dr. Janet Silverstein, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, as well as co-author of the academy’s new report. “We just can’t say for certain that organics is better without long-term controlled studies.”

The report, published online Monday, is similar to a Stanford University study released last month. Their research concluded that while eating organic fruits and vegetables can reduce pesticide exposure, the amount measured in grown produce was within safety limits.

Silverstein recommends for parents on a budget to purchase organic versions of foods with the most pesticide residue only, like apples, peaches, strawberries and celery. Organic foods tend to be more expensive than standard produce.

Despite this tip for budget-conscious shoppers, the pediatricians group explains higher prices on organic foods might make some parents buy less fruits and vegetables. This is a setback, especially since both fruits and vegetables have numerous health benefits, including reducing risks of obesity, heart disease and some cancers.

The report recommends parents to provide their families a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as plenty of whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Foods could be organic or not.

The Organic Trade Association reports the US market for organic foods has grown from $3.5 billion in 1996 to $28.6 billion in 2010. Only some products are standardized and regulated.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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