Only About 10% US Adults Eat Sufficient Vegetables Interview with:
Latetia V. Moore Ph.D. MSPH
Epidemiologist, Centers for Disease Control

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Moore: For this study, CDC researchers analyzed the average daily fruit and vegetable intake from the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for the 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) and the percent of each state’s population meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations.  BRFSS is the sole source of dietary information (systematic surveillance) for most states.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Moore: Researchers found that in every state less than 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. are consuming enough fruits and about 1 in 10 are consuming enough vegetables. Estimates ranged from 8% meeting fruit recommendations in Tennessee up to 18% in California, and for vegetables from 6% in Mississippi to 13% in California.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Moore: There are significant health benefits associated with eating fruits and vegetables. These foods provide essential nutrients and help to reduce the risk for leading causes of illness and death. Eating more fruits and vegetables helps to manage body weight when consumed in place of foods high in added sugars and fat. Clinicians could counsel adult patients to ensure their healthy eating pattern consist of the recommended 1 ½  to 2 cups per day of fruit and 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables. A cup is about a large banana or 12 baby carrots.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Moore: Future research is needed to understand how to increase demand and consumption of fruits and vegetables, as well as research on ways to encourage healthy eating patterns during childhood. We need to evaluate what strategies make it easier for adults to choose healthier foods. Recommendations include exploring what effect better placement, pricing, and promotion of fruits and vegetables in grocery stores, restaurants, worksites, and communities has on intake. It is also important to look at how  childcare, schools, and school districts can influence children’s eating habits when they implement federal nutrition standards for meals and snacks and serve fruits and vegetables whenever food is offered.


Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations — United States, 2013

MMWR Weekly

July 10, 2015 / 64(26);709-713

Latetia V. Moore, PhD1; Frances E. Thompson, PhD2

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Latetia V. Moore Ph.D. MSPH (2015). Only About 10% US Adults Eat Sufficient Vegetables