Although they've been told to many times in their lives, most American adults are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that only one in 10 adults are eating the recommended amounts, the Hill reports. Women reach the target more often than men do, per ABC News, and people older than 50 do better than younger eaters. White and Hispanic people meet the goal on vegetables more often than Black people.
The CDC study found that people close to or below poverty levels were the least likely, at 6.8%, to meet the recommendations. The guidelines, which come from the US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, call for 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1½ to 2 cups of fruit in an adult's diet each day. The study said those amounts or more "can help protect against some chronic conditions that are among the leading causes of mortality in the United States." The study involved 294,566 people over 30 years. The data ends just before the pandemic began, and the study acknowledges that barriers to acquiring healthy foods "might have worsened" since then.
The CDC recommended that states and smaller governments support community retail programs "to attract grocery stores and supermarkets to underserved communities to improve community food quality." They also should promote participation in federal nutrition assistance programs for low-income people, the CDC said. "Additional policies and programs that will increase access to fruits and vegetables in places where US residents live, learn, work, and play, might increase consumption and improve health," the study stated. (Read more nutrition stories.)