Americans' vegetable consumption drops 2% in a decade

Americans' vegetable consumption drops 2% in a decade

Nearly three-quarters of all Americans eat fewer vegetables each day than the national health objectives for fruit and vegetable consumption advises them to, says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 67.5% of US adults consume fewer than two fruits per day, the report informs. In fact, not one of the 50 US states met the objectives of Healthy People 2010 for 75% of people to eat at least two servings per day and 50% to consume at least 3 servings of vegetables per day.

Healthy People 2010, set up by the US government, set modest goals for fruit and vegetable consumption by Americans. Unfortunately, ten years later, the country is not even close to achieving those goals (objectives).

The CDC stresses that a diet rich in fruit and vegetable is crucial for effective weight management, as well as reducing the main causes of death in country, which include heart disease, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Over the last ten years, fruit consumption across America has dropped 2%, while vegetable consumption has remained about the same, the authors write.

To recap, the two objectives of Healthy People 2010, which started in 2000 and ended at the end of 2009, were:

  • 75% of people to eat at least two servings of vegetables per day
  • 50% of people to consume at least 3 servings of vegetables per day
Only one state, Idaho, managed to get close to both objectives, while ten states failed in both - Arizona, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The authors explain that:

More efforts are needed at the national, state, and local levels to improve environments and policies related to fruit and vegetable access, availability, and affordability.

Overall, the percentage of adults who met the fruit target dropped from 34.4% in 2000 to 32.5% in 2009.

The fruit objective, by the end of 2009:

  • Just under one third of US citizens met the objective; a drop compared to 2000
  • Four states improved, slightly
  • In Oklahoma only 18.1% of people met the objective
  • California with 40.1% and the District of Columbia with 40.2% had the highest fruit consumption

The vegetables objective, by the end of 2009

  • Only 26.3% of US citizens met the objective
  • Over a ten-year period vegetable consumption stayed pretty much the same
  • 11 states improved slightly
  • In South Dakota only 19.6% of people met the objective
  • No state had more than 35% of its citizens who met the objective
The authors wrote:

The findings in this report indicate that 2009 overall and state-specific estimates of the proportions of U.S. adults consuming fruit two or more times per day or vegetables three or more times per day were far short of the targets set by Healthy People 2010; furthermore, trends in fruit and vegetable consumption during the past decade were relatively flat. The prevalence of fruit and vegetable consumption varied by demographic characteristics and body mass index; nonetheless, neither the fruit nor vegetable consumption target was met by any of the subgroups analyzed.

Although the investigators did not ask people which fruit and vegetables they mostly ate, a 2009 study revealed that potatoes are people's favorite vegetable, while orange juice is the preferred fruit source in the USA.

One of the authors, Jennifer Foltz, M.D. a CDC epidemiologist, said:

We are not making progress, that's for sure.

"State-Specific Trends in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Adults - United States, 2000--2009"

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)

KA Grimm, MPH, HM Blanck, PhD, KS Scanlon, PhD, LV Moore, PhD, LM Grummer-Strawn, PhD, Div of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; JL Foltz, MD, EIS Officer, CDC.

September 10, 2010 / 59(35);1125-1130

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