US Adults Are Not Eating Enough Vegetables, Fruit – Says New Study

The percentage of US adults eating enough fruits everyday to meet the federal recommendations is just about 15 and this could be even worse in certain states going down to as much as 7.5% in Tennessee, says a new study. CDC researchers also found that in the case of vegetables, fewer adults meet the recommendations.

For the last several years, vegetable and fruit intake has remained persistently low but a method has just been evolved to understand how each state fared in this regard vis a vis the recommendations, says Latetia V.Moore, the lead author of the study from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention at the CDC.

Moore added further that it was surprising how disappointingly low the intake was across the nation, while some southern states were lagging behind significantly.

Moore along with her co-authors examined the recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey for all the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, with the help of a new scoring procedure for comparing the figures reported by the state, which are expressed usually as “frequency of intake”, in relation to federal requirements and counted as ‘cups per day’ normally.

In general during 2013, half the respondents consumed fruits less than once per day and it was less than 1.7 times per day in the case of vegetables. Researchers then compared the responses to the dietary guidelines laid down for Americans that recommend 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit for adults getting less than 30 minutes of moderate/vigorous physical activity every day. The recommendations also include 2 to 3 cups of vegetables every day in addition to the fruits recommended.  In the case of people who are more active, they could consume more but with any eye on the calories.

Moore went on to add that all types of vegetables and fruit count though the dietary guidelines for Americans recommended that most of the fruit intake came from whole fruit as opposed to fruit juice and we should eat vegetables and fruits that have lesser added sugars and solid fat. The recommendations also include taking orange vegetables and dark green vegetables including beans.

Considering an on overall picture, just about 13 percent people in the U.S. said they were eating adequate amount of fruit and some 8.9 percent said they were eating enough vegetables to be in line with the recommendations.

In Tennessee, fruit consumption at its lowest with just about 7% people meeting the recommendations and California was at the top with 17.7% meeting the recommendations.

“Fruits and vegetables are major contributors of important nutrients that are typically lacking from Americans’ diets and they can protect against many leading causes of illness and death like heart disease, stroke and some cancers,” Moore said. “Eating fruits and vegetables in place of foods that are high in calories, added sugars, and solid fat can also help with weight management.”

Source: CDC