The century old wise advice ‘eat your fruit and vegetables’ doesn’t seem to apply to U.S. adults who are found to consume too little fruit or vegetables.
The study revealing how U.S. adult citizens consume fruit and vegetables was conducted by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention at the CDC. Here, professor Latetia Moore took a closer look at the levels of fruit and vegetables intake to see if they meet federal recommendations.
Disappointingly, both in the case of fruit, as in that of vegetables, the intake levels are lagging well behind the recommended daily intake. Approximately 15 percent U.S. adults meet the recommendations.
A state by state analysis reveals that in some states the percentages are as low as 7.5. The percentages could not be compared to other years, as the methodology for gathering data has changed, yet a constant low could be deducted across the U.S.
It is hard to understand why the intake levels of fruit and vegetable are so low. Professor Moore stated:
“Fruits and vegetable 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 cancer. Eating fruits and vegetable in place of food that are high in calories, added sugars and solid fat can also help with weight management”.
Why then is the ‘one apple a day keeps the doctor away’ ousted by U.S. adults? This could be the topic of a different study.
The results of the study relied heavily on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a survey that spans all U.S. states and the district of Columbia. The rates are expressed as ‘frequency of intake’, while the intake is expressed in ‘cups per day’.
For 2013, those participating in the survey answered that fruit consumption was less than one time per day. For vegetables, frequency of intake was under 1.7 times per day. Federal recommendations indicate that a healthy fruit intake for active U.S. adults would be 1.5 to 2 cups daily, with 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily.
The worst rated state was Mississippi, where only 5.5 percent of residents almost reach federal recommendations. Tennessee was rated at 7.5. In California, 17.7 percent meet the federal guidelines regarding fruit and vegetable intake, yet the percentages are still disappointing.
Overall, U.S. adults that meet the vegetable intake guidelines amount to 13 percent of the population surveyed. For fruit intake, only 8.9 percent meet the guidelines.
The study’s results are published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the CDC.
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