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Vast majority of Americans aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables: CDC study

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Washington — Nearly 9 out of 10 U.S. adults don’t consume the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers examined data from the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and estimated the percentage of daily fruit and vegetable consumption by state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends adults eat at least 1-and-a-half to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day.

Survey results showed that only 12.2 percent of the 319,415 participants ate the recommended servings of fruits, and only 9.3 percent met the recommended daily intake for vegetables. Among states, West Virginia had the lowest percentage of both recommended fruit (7.3 percent) and vegetable (5.8 percent) consumption. Alaska had the highest vegetable consumption (12 percent), while the District of Columbia was top for fruit (15.5 percent).

Men, young adults and adults living in poverty are among the groups most at risk of not getting the proper nutrition, according to the study.

“The findings indicate the need to identify and address barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption,” CDC states in a Nov. 16 press release. “Previous studies have found that high cost, limited availability and access, and perceived lack of cooking/preparation time can be barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption.”

CDC points out that seven of the nation’s top 10 causes of death stem from chronic diseases, and a diet that includes the proper servings of fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risks for heart disease, some cancers, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The study was published Nov. 17 in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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