Not only are Americans not eating enough fruits and vegetables--something we've been nagged about for years--our diets are actually getting worse, according to a Centers for Disease Control report released September 9th.
Not one state in the country comes even close to meeting federal guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption, which are two servings of fruit and three of vegetables a day. Only a third of U.S. adults ate enough fruit and 26 percent ate enough vegetables in 2009, based on a telephone survey of hundreds of thousands of people.
Californians did slightly better than the average American--40 percent were eating the recommended amount of fruit, and 27 percent were consuming enough vegetables.
Overall, people are eating less fruit today than they were in 2000, the last time the survey was conducted, with 34.4 percent meeting the national recommendations in 2000 and 32.5 percent in 2009, a decrease the CDC characterizes as significant. The District of Columbia had the highest percentage of adults eating adequate amounts of fruit (although it only barely edged out California, 40.2 percent to 40.1 percent, so take that, Feds!). Oklahoma had the lowest percentage, 18.1 percent.
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For vegetables, the highest percentage was Tennessee, with 33 percent of adults getting enough, and the lowest was South Dakota, with 19.6 percent.
Only one state had "statistically significant" increases in the percentages of adults meeting each target, and that was Idaho. (One wonders, however, if their vegetable consumption consists largely of baked potatoes.)
Women eat more fruit and vegetables than men, as do those who are older, better educated and paid more (over $50,000 a year). Among ethnicities, Hispanics had the highest fruit consumption (37.2 percent) and lowest vegetable consumption (19.7 percent).
What's it going to take, people? Puréed beets hidden in your chocolate cake? Spinach in your smoothies?