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Nutrition

Narrative

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods while not exceeding caloric needs. Nutrient dense foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas. In particular, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate recommends that fruits and vegetables should account for half of foods consumed daily.1

In 2009, less than than one-third of adults in the United States reported consuming fruit two or more times per day (32.5 percent) and vegetables three or more times per day (26.5 percent; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). Women were more likely than men to have consumed fruit at least twice daily (36.1 versus 28.8 percent, respectively) and vegetables at least three times daily (30.9 and 21.3 percent, respectively; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). Among women, fruit and vegetable consumption varied by education, race and ethnicity, and Body Mass Index (BMI).

Women without a high school diploma were least likely to have reported consuming vegetables three or more times per day (22.0 percent), while those with a college degree were most likely to have done so (38.6 percent). Similarly, more than 40 percent of college-educated women consumed fruit twice or more daily, compared to about one-third of women with lower levels of education. With regard to race and ethnicity, only about one-quarter of non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic women consumed vegetables three or more times daily (24.5 and 23.8 percent, respectively) compared to more than 32 percent for all other races and ethnicities (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

Obese women (BMI ≥30) also had lower fruit and vegetable consumption than those who were neither overweight nor obese (BMI < 25). For instance, only 31.6 percent of obese women consumed fruit two or more times per day, compared to 39.3 percent of women who were neither overweight nor obese. Diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, and fruits and vegetables generally have fewer calories than other foods, which can contribute to better weight management.1

1 U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. January 2011. Accessed 11/9/12.

Graphs

Data

Daily Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Women Aged 18 and Older, by Level of Education, 2009
Level of Education Percent of Women
Consume Fruit Two or More Times Daily Consume Vegetables Three or More Times Daily
**Neither overweight nor obese is defined as having a BMI of less than 25.0; overweight is defined as having a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9; and obese is defined as having a BMI of 30.0 or more. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2009. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Total 36.1 30.9
Less than High School 35.8 22.0
High School Diploma 32.0 24.9
Some College or Technical School 34.1 30.7
College Graduate 41.2 38.6
Daily Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Women Aged 18 and Older, by Weight Status, 2009
Weight Status Percent of Women
Consume Fruit Two or More Times Daily Consume Vegetables Three or More Times Daily
*Neither overweight nor obese is defined as having a BMI of less than 25.0; overweight is defined as having a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9; and obese is defined as having a BMI of 30.0 or more. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2009. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Neither Overweight nor Obese 39.3 32.4
Overweight 36.0 31.3
Obese 31.6 28.1