It’s going to take more than one apple a day to make these numbers better.
An average 12% of Americans ate their daily recommended amount of fruit, while an average of less than 9% ate their daily recommended amount of vegetables in 2015, says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control.
The report, compiled every two years, estimated the percentage of each state’s population meeting minimum recommendations by age, sex, race/ethnicity and income-to-poverty ratio for all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
In terms of recommended fruit intake, West Virginia had the lowest percentage of the population with 7.3%, while the highest still only reached 15.5% in D.C. For vegetables, percentages ranged from 5.8% in West Virginia and 12% in Alaska. Fourteen percent of New Yorkers met the recommended fruit minimum, while only 9.6% met the vegetable minimum.
Women, adults aged 31-50, and Hispanics were the highest demographics who met the fruit recommended intake, while women, adults over 51, and people in the highest income groups met the vegetable recommended intake.
“This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease,” said Seung Hee Lee Kwan, Ph.D., of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, lead author of the study. “As a result, we’re missing out on the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that fruits and vegetables provide.”
Federal guidelines say that adults should eat 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day in order to reduce the risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity.
The CDC suggests pre-preparing fruit and vegetables by chopping them at one time and freezing the excess or choosing frozen or canned fruit and veggie options, which are better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.