Top
eat more vegetables

If You Live In One Of These States, You Need More Vegetables In Your Life

As it turns out, it’s not just little kids who avoid eating their fruits and veggies. According to a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 13.1% of American adults meet the federal daily fruit intake recommendation, and only 8.9% meet the federal daily vegetable intake recommendation.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) state that adults who engage in less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day should consume between 1.5 and 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily. These cup measurements end up translating to about nine servings of fruits and veggies per day, which is probably what you remember hearing as a kid (and resisting at the kitchen table).

If you’re currently muttering “…but I don’t like vegetables” under your breath, we have news for you: eating lots of fruits and vegetables can have a huge impact on your health. In fact, eating more of them will add nutrients to your diet, help manage your body weight, and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

However, the unfortunate truth is this: Most Americans know that fruits and veggies are staples for a healthy lifestyle, and yet they still avoid them. With this in mind, the experts at HealthGrove set out to see which states have the best and worst fruit and veggie consumption in the hope of understanding the reason. As it turns out, there is substantial variation in fruit and veggie intake by state.

To begin, HealthGrove turned to data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). BRFSS is a system hosted within the CDC that conducts an ongoing state-based telephone survey of American adults. The survey collects data on health risk, nutrition, conditions, diseases, access to health care and more. This particular study was conducted between 2007 and 2010, but released in July of 2015.

HealthGrove used the data to create two heat maps which help illustrate the variation across the U.S. The first map shows the percentage of each state’s adult population that met federal fruit intake recommendations in 2013:

eat more vegetables

eat more vegetables

Southern states have the smallest population meeting the federal fruit intake recommendation. This is somewhat unsurprising, considering the CDC reports that the South also has the highest prevalence of obesity in the U.S. (30.2%), which could be attributed to the lack of fruits and vegetables consumed in the South. In terms of low fruit intake, Tennessee takes the lead, with only 7.5% of the population meeting federal recommendations, followed by West Virginia (7.7%) and Oklahoma (8.2%).

California is the most fruit-loving state, with 17.7% of the population meeting the federal fruit intake recommendation, followed by New York (15.5%), Florida, New Hampshire and Connecticut (all 14.8%). With California and Florida on the list, one might speculate that states that produce a lot of fruit also consume a lot of fruit. In fact, California and Florida are the largest fruit-producing states in the country, according the USDA.

After analyzing fruit intake, HealthGrove tackled vegetables, and created a heat map that shows the percentage of each state’s adult population that met federal vegetable intake recommendations in 2013:

eat more vegetables

eat more vegetables

On this map, there is a clear line between the Midwestern and Western states. The state with the lowest vegetable intake is Mississippi, which also happens to be the state tied for the highest obesity rate in the U.S. Next in line are Oklahoma (5.8%), Tennessee (6.2%) and North Dakota (6.4%).

California takes the lead on the vegetable front, as well: 13% of the population meets the federal veggie intake recommendation, followed by Oregon (11%), Vermont (10.8%) and Alaska (10.8%). California also happens to be the largest vegetable-producing state in the country, producing over 700,000 acres annually.

The heat maps above make it clear: Americans aren’t getting enough fruits or veggies. Even in California (the winning state in both categories), only 17.7% of the population meets the federal fruit intake recommendation, and only 13% meets the federal vegetable intake recommendation. The CDC suggests that better dietary practices in childhood might lead to better practices later in life. Schools and early care centers could put more time and money into teaching nutrition, but when a child returns home after school, good eating habits can fade at the sight of a sweet treat or greasy bag of chips.

There are temptations for adults, too. Eating poorly can be a part of a social norm or workplace culture. When unhealthy food is all around you, it’s hard to pick the healthier option. To help mediate this, the CDC recommends that work and community settings establish new policies that require fruits and vegetables at work meetings, conferences and other events.

If nothing else, remember this: Over three-quarters of American adults aren’t meeting federal fruit and vegetable requirements, and more than one-third of American adults are obese. Regardless of which state you live in, know that fruits and veggies provide essential nutrients and reduce our risk of obesity, disease, stroke and cancer. Make an effort to get in your 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day—your body will thank you.

eat more vegetables

.

Explore More Health Conditions on HealthGrove

Posted on September 2, 2015 by Laura Delamare

eat more vegetables

Makeba Giles is a Digital Content Producer and Founder of Faith Health and Home, a digital space with information and resources for physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being to help families live an inspired lifestyle.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
K. Elizabeth @ YUMMommy

I definitely strive to make sure the kids and I get our fruits and veggies in. It’s a bit of a struggle with my son’s texture issue due to ASD, but we’re making progress!

trackback

[…] are many ways you can sneak in a few more vegetables into your meals. For example, many people use vegetables like cauliflower or zucchini as substitutes for potatoes, […]

2
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x