Is it you?
According to the Guardian, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has discovered that only 12% of Americans get the recommended amount of one and a half to two cups of fruit in their daily diet, and only 9% munch the two to three cups of vegetables the government tells us to choke down every 24 hours.
The study was broken down by state, class, race, and gender. Women do a little better than men, with 15.1% eating enough fruit compared to 9.2%. Maybe it’s all the fruit at the bottom of yogurt cups? Wealth is the dominating factor when it comes to diet, and the most disturbing trend. 11.4% of wealthier Americans get their recommended fruit and vegetable intake while the poor are at only 7%.
“The study confirms years of data demonstrating that Americans do not eat their veggies,” Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University, told the Guardian. “Assuming this result is close to reality, it suggests the need for taking much stronger action to make it easier and cheaper to eat fruits and vegetables.”
But even 11.4% is astonishingly low for people with money and access. Some of the study’s findings suggest there are larger cultural reasons why people don’t eat produce, outside of general accessibility. From state to state, it varies wildly:
For example, just 2.2% of South Dakotans between 18 and 30 years old eat the recommended daily serving of vegetables.
While people in West Virginia, which often tops lists of the least healthy and poorest US states, were the least likely to get enough vegetables on average – just 5.8% of West Virginians ate the recommended amount.
Alaskans are most likely to eat the recommended amount of vegetables, and they’re still only at 12% of adults. Researchers believe these numbers reflect a larger effort from the food industry to push processed meals on consumers. As someone who just ordered nachos for lunch instead of cooking the broccoli in my fridge, this feels accurate.