New Study: Dramatically Low Fruit and Vegetable Intake Persists in US Adults

BARTOW, Fla. – A new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that on average only 12 percent of U.S. adults meet fruit intake and only 10 percent meet vegetable intake recommendations as outlined in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Low intakes may put Americans at increased risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Related: Research shows that 100% fruit juice, such as orange juice, can help increase fruit intake.

When looking at this data on the state level,1 the average percentage of adults meeting fruit intake recommendations ranged from 8.4 percent to 16.1 percent, and for vegetables ranged from 5.6 percent to 16.0 percent. The DGAs recommend 1.5 to 2 cup-equivalents of fruit daily for most adults. Although data differed by state, those with Hispanic ethnicity and women were more likely overall to meet fruit intake recommendations.

Low fruit and 100% fruit juice intake may lead to lower intakes of key nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, and folate, as well as phytonutrients (naturally occurring plant compounds). These nutrients are essential in supporting immune system health and are associated with reduced risk for some chronic conditions. Intake of vitamin C declined 23 percent between 1999 and 2018, driven by decreases in consumption of 100% fruit juice.2 While whole fruit is recommended, adding just one 8-ounce glass of 100% orange juice to the daily diet can help fill nutrient and fruit intake gaps while overcoming many of the barriers to fruit intake, including availability, cost, and access. Orange juice and other 100% fruit juices are readily available year-round and are a cost-effective and convenient way for Americans to move the needle closer to meeting fruit intake recommendations.3

The current analysis by the CDC included data from 294,566 adults aged 18 and older collected as part of the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system (BRFSS). Data were reported for 49 states and the District of Columbia. Respondents reported their intake per day, week, or month of vegetables and fruit, including 100% fruit juice, over the previous 30 days.

About the Florida Department of Citrus

The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of the Florida government charged with the marketing, research, and regulation of the Florida citrus industry.  Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels.  The industry employs more than 33,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $6.762 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads, and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org/newsroom.