September 10, 2010

Americans Eat Too Few Fruits, Vegetables: Report

A new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds a majority of Americans do not consume enough fruits and vegetables.

The report found that roughly one-in-three U.S. adults consumed fruit or fruit juice at least twice a day, a slight decrease from more than 34 percent in 2000, the health agency said Thursday.

The highest fruit-consumption took place among adults in Washington D.C., where 40.2% of the adult population consumed fruit two or more times per day.  Oklahoma came in last, with only 18.1% of adults consuming fruit two or more times daily.

The percentage of U.S. adults who consumed vegetables three or more times per day was just 26.3%, virtually unchanged from 2000 figures.  The highest percentage of vegetables consumption is in Tennessee (33.0%), with the lowest in South Dakota (19.6%).

According to the report, twelve states and Washington, D.C. had 35% to 45% of adults who consumed fruit two or more times per day.  However, no state had 35% to 45% of adults who consumed vegetables three or more times per day.

"No state met either of the Healthy People 2010 targets related to fruit and vegetable consumption among adults," the CDC said, referring to federal goals of having three-quarters of Americans eating enough fruit, and half eating enough vegetables.

Health officials have been working to promote healthy diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy green vegetables. The goal is to reduce obesity rates and associated cases of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other conditions related to poor diets.

Dr. Jennifer Foltz, a CDC epidemiologist and one of the study's authors, said the data is discouraging.

"We aren't making progress, that's for sure," she said, adding that an upcoming survey set for next year will hopefully show better results.

The data in the report came from a national telephone survey of hundreds of thousands of Americans.  The survey did not query participants about which fruits and vegetables they consumed the most.  However, a CDC study published last year found that orange juice was the top source of fruit among American adults and teenagers, and potatoes were the most consumed vegetable.

The full CDC report, entitled "State-Specific Trends in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Adults --- United States, 2000"”2009", can be viewed at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5935a1.htm?s_cid=mm5935a1_w.