The States That Love — or Loathe — Fruits and Vegetables

Less than 15 percent of Americans eat the recommended amount of produce daily, but some states have a worse track record than others.

Americans are needlessly putting themselves at risk for deadly chronic diseases and weight gain by not eating enough fruits and vegetables, according to new statistics from the federal government.

Fewer than 1 in 5 Americans eat enough produce, according to the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today, the report begins:

Eating more fruits and vegetables adds nutrients to diets; reduces the risk for heart disease, stroke and some cancers; and helps manage body weight when consumed in place of more energy-dense foods.

Nationwide, just 13.1 percent of adults eat the recommended amount of fruit each day:

  • Tennessee residents eat the least amount of fruit (7.5 percent of the recommended amount)
  • California residents eat the greatest amount of fruit (17.7 percent of the recommended amount)

Meanwhile, only 8.9 percent of adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables.

  • Mississippi residents eat the least amount of vegetables (5.5 percent of the recommended amount)
  • California residents eat the greatest amount of vegetables (13 percent of the recommended amount)

The report urges a greater push to get consumers to eat more produce, and says this can be accomplished through “competitive pricing, placement, and promotion in child care, schools, grocery stores, communities, and worksites.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that adults eat 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit per day and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day.

For the vast majority of us struggling to keep up with these recommendations, the Harvard University School of Public Health suggests:

  • Keep fruit where you can see it. That way you’ll be more likely to eat it.
  • Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. Variety is the key to a healthy diet.
  • Skip the potatoes. Choose other vegetables that are packed with more nutrients and more slowly digested carbohydrates.
  • Make it a meal. Try cooking new recipes that include more vegetables. Salads and stir-fries are two ideas for getting tasty vegetables on your plate.

How does your produce consumption compare with that of the average American? Leave us a comment below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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