U.S. Falls Short on Fruit & Vegetable Consumption
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases. In 1999-2000, only 40% of Americans ate an average of five or more ½-cup servings, or about 2½ cups, of fruits and vegetables per day. The government's most recent dietary guidelines suggest consuming even greater amounts (between 2 to 6½ cups per day), depending on age, sex, and activity level. The proportions of individuals meeting these new recommendations range from 0.7% for males 14-18 years of age to 48% for children 2-3 years of age. Toddlers' rates of consumption can be attributed to the fact that they drink about twice as much fruit juice as the rest of the population. Clearly, most individuals' intakes of fruits and vegetables are below recommended levels. So raising recommendations is one thing, but working to ensure that these foods make it into our diets is quite another.