A new survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that most Americans do not have sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables in their diet.
The study, which was reported in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on July 9, showed that only 13 percent of the adults in the U.S. eat the recommended 1.5 to 2 cups of fruits per day in 2013 while less than 9 percent eat the recommended 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily.
The results were based on the response of 373,580 adults from 50 states in the country. Although the results varied among states, the overall findings were discouraging.
Rate of consumption of vegetables is lowest in Mississippi with only 5.5 percent of the respondents from this state meeting the government's recommendation for vegetable intake. Mississippi is followed by Oklahoma at 5.8 percent.
California may be the most salad-loving state in the country but only 17.7 percent of the people here get enough fruits. Only 13 percent were likewise meeting the required vegetable intake.
Tennessee was the worst when it comes to fruit intake. Only 7.5 percent of the participants from the state consume enough fruit.
Participants of the survey were asked about their consumption of 100 percent fruit juice, beans, whole fruits, and vegetable over the past 30 days. French fries and other fried potato food were not considered vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables provide the needed dietary nutrients that help a person maintain healthy body weight and provide protection against unwanted diseases and health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.
"It's not that hard," said study author Latetia Moore, from CDC. "A banana and half or a medium sized apple is one and a half cups of fruit."
The researchers said that one way of improving vegetable and fruit intake in adults is to start with children saying that better dietary practices during childhood may result in better practices later in life. Schools can help in this public effort by meeting or even exceeding nutrition standards for their meals and by making fruits and vegetables more appealing to children.
"These results indicate that <18 percent of adults in each state consumed the recommended amount of fruit and <14 percent consumed the recommended amount of vegetables," the researchers wrote. "Increased attention to food environments in multiple settings, including child care, schools, communities, and worksites, might help improve fruit and vegetable intake, and thus help prevent chronic disease."
Photo: Doug Beckers | Flickr