Only 1 in 10 Adults Get Enough Fruits or Vegetables

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New CDC Report Highlights Diet Deficiencies

According to a new study published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable dietary recommendations.


Depending on their age and sex federal guidelines recommend that adults eat at least 1½ to 2 cups per day of fruit and 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables as part of a healthy eating pattern. Yet in 2015, just 9 percent of adults met the intake recommendations for vegetables, ranging from 6 percent in West Virginia to 12 percent in Alaska. Only 12 percent of adults met the recommendations for fruit, ranging from 7 percent in West Virginia to 16 percent in Washington, D.C. Results showed that consumption was lower among men, young adults, and adults living in poverty.

“This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease,” said Seung Hee Lee Kwan, Ph.D., of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, lead author of the study. “As a result, we’re missing out on the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that fruits and vegetables provide.”

Seven of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States are from chronic diseases. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables daily can help reduce the risk of many leading causes of illness and death, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity.

“Families can benefit from having healthy foods available wherever they live, learn, work, and play,” said Ruth Petersen, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. “Communities, worksites, schools, hospitals, and other institutions can work together to support healthy eating for all Americans.”

CDC researchers analyzed data from the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to estimate the percentage of each state’s population meeting the intake recommendations by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and poverty-income ratio for the 50 states and District of Columbia (DC).

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