A new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals 80 percent of Americans lack the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data collected from more than 373,000 U.S. adults in 50 states found 76 percent of Americans did not eat the recommended amount of fruits and 87 percent did not eat enough vegetables between 2007 and 2010.
The study also showed substantial variation in fruit and veggie consumption state by state. Overall, 13.1 percent of respondents met fruit intake recommendations, ranging from 7.5 percent in Tennessee to 17.7 percent in California, and 8.9 percent met vegetable recommendations, ranging from 5.5 percent in Mississippi to 13 percent in California. CDC concluded that substantial new efforts are needed to build consumer demand for fruits and vegetables through competitive pricing, placement, and promotion in child care, schools, grocery stores, communities, and worksites.
Because fruit and vegetable consumption affects multiple health outcomes and is currently low across all states, continued efforts are needed to increase demand and consumption. The researchers suggested improving fruit and vegetable consumption for adults should start with improving intake during childhood. During 2007–2010, 60 percent of children consumed fewer cup equivalents of fruit than recommended, and 93 percent consumed fewer vegetables than recommended.
Unfortunately, fruits and vegetables are not the only nutrients lacking in Americans’ diets. Current fiber intakes are low, and the majority of Americans fall alarmingly short of recommended intakes. The Institute of Medicine (IOM), Washington, recommends that people of all ages should consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. Adult women should aim to consume 21-29 grams of fiber a day, while adult men should consume 30-38 grams a day. Unfortunately, only 3 percent of all Americans meet the recommended intakes, according to the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).