Not Enough Fruits and Vegetables on the Table
Substantial evidence suggests that consistent consumption of fruit and vegetables may prevent cancer and other chronic diseases. Current U.S. dietary guidelines recommend daily consumption of five servings of fruits and vegetables, but whether or not these guidelines translate into actual dietary trends among U.S.
adults remains unclear.
This study evaluated fruit and vegetable consumption in 16 states from 1990-1996. Data from telephone surveys, including questions on dietary intake and participation in leisure-time physical activities, were used to stratify respondents based on various sociodemographic and health-related characteristics.
Results indicated that only 22% of the study population reported adequate intake of fruits and vegetables over the six-year period (19% in 1990, 22% in 1994, and 23% in 1996). The proportion increased among those participating in leisure-time physical activity and those with normal weight, but remained almost the same among inactive people, and dropped among the obese.
The authors note that progress in fruit and vegetable intake over the study period was "encouraging." However, the relatively insignificant change from 1994-1996 emphasizes the need for increased education efforts, particularly targeting those people who are overweight and/or participate in little or no physical activity.
Ruowei L, Serdula M, Bland S, et al. Trends in fruit and vegetable consumption among adults in 16 U.S. states: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 1990-96. American Journal of Public Health
, May 2000:90(5), pp777-81.