It may not come as a surprise to many people that barely any people in the USA are eating sufficient fresh vegetables and fruit as part of their everyday diet. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have recently announced that only 12% of people in America are eating the recommended daily amount of fruit (which is currently 1 ½ to 2 cups a day) and just 9% are eating the recommended minimum daily amount of vegetables (which is currently 2-3 cups a day).
We’ve known for years that people aren’t eating enough vegetables, but this research simply proves it, and that means that serious action needs to be taken to make eating more fruit and veg cheaper and easier.
This study broke down the groups of Americans by class, state, gender and race, and this evidence showed that some of the subgroups were less likely than others to eat the right amount of product. People who are living in poverty, young adults and men, in general, had very low rates of intake of veg and fruit. 15.1% of females eat the right amount of fruit each day, but only 9.2% of males manage the same amounts. 11.4% of affluent Americans consume sufficient vegetables, but just 7% of those who are poor managed the same.
Since eating a poor quality diet is associated with developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer, it’s no wonder that the public health authorities have been endorsing eating a diet which is rich in vegetables and fruit for a long time.
There is still a long way to go before the news of the importance of fruit and vegetables is spread fully across the country, however. The evidence has also shown that the disparity in the amount of fruit and veg consumed varies dramatically between states. One example is South Dakota, where just 2.2% of people aged 18-30 eat the right amounts, and in West Virginia, only 5.8% of residents are eating the right amounts. Alaskans are the people most likely to eat enough veg, however even there the percentage is just 12%.
It is especially hard to boost these rates since only 2% of American farmland is given over to the production of fruit and veg and farmers would have to produce double the amount just to enable the population to eat sufficient servings.
Another problem is that the food industry isn’t working in conjunction with the public health authorities to resolve this problem, and at the moment, the multi-million dollar food industry is solely focusing on persuading people to choose processed foods rather than healthy fresh produce. As part of this research, researchers spoke to adults around America and asked how frequently they ate a range of healthy foods including fruit juice, whole fruits, orange vegetables, beans and dark greens and the clear result has shown that we all need to be working a lot harder to increase the amounts of these foods that we consume so that we can all enjoy better health.