Most Minnesotans aren't eating enough fruits or veggies, survey finds

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If you live in Minnesota, you're probably not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

Though that's the same story for most of the United States.

A new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says more than eight of every 10 adults isn't meeting fruit intake recommendations, while more than 9 out of every 10 aren't hitting the mark for vegetable consumption.

The CDC says eating more fruits and vegetables provides important nutrients, reduces the risk for heart disease, stroke, and some cancers, and helps manage a person's weight when eaten instead of more "energy-dense" foods.

How much fruit and veg are we talking here?

Adults who engage in less than a half hour of moderate physical activity every day should eat 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily, the CDC says.

But from 2007-2010, 76 percent of U.S. adults didn't meet the fruit recommendations, while 87 percent didn't hit the veggie threshold.

The researchers then took that information, added some predictive equations to it, and came up with the following estimate: 13.1 percent of respondents to the new survey met fruit recommendations, while 8.9 percent met vegetable recommendations.

State-by-state differences

Still, within that, there are wide swings between some states and their rate of fruit-and-veggie consumption.

On the high end there's California, which leads the fruit and veggie categories with 17.7 percent and 13 percent clearing the intake bar, respectively.

Tennessee came in last for fruit intake at 7.5 percent; Mississippi was at the bottom for vegetable consumption at 5.5 percent.

The American Heart Association has tips on how to sneak fruits and vegetables into your meals to increase consumption.

How about Minnesota?

Minnesota isn't at the bottom – but we're not hitting those averages either.

In the North Star State, 12.5 percent of us are meeting fruit intake guidelines, while 7.9 percent are clearing the mark for veggie intake.

None of Minnesota's neighbors hit the average intake mark either.

  • Iowa: 11.3 percent meeting fruit guidelines; 6.6 meet vegetable guidelines
  • North Dakota: 11.4 fruit; 6.4 vegetable
  • South Dakota: 10.3 fruit; 6.8 vegetable
  • Wisconsin: 12.7 fruit; 7.5 vegetable

(As for how often we eat those foods: Minnesotans consume fruit an average of once per day, and vegetables 1.6 times per day. Nationally, the median frequency for fruit was once per day, while the median for veggies was 1.7 times per day.)

The Grand Forks Herald spoke with some locals who said fruit and vegetable availability can be difficult in the winter. And a Fargo nutritionist said our diets could play a role, as we "do tend to be meat and potatoes."

The study says "substantial new efforts are needed" to get people to want more fruits and vegetables. It says competitive pricing, placement, and promotion in child care, schools, grocery stores, communities and worksites are all factors.

More on the study

The numbers were gathered via a random-digit–dialed telephone survey of non-institutionalized, civilian adults who are 18 years or older and living in the United States.

Because of that, there are potential limits, the CDC says, including the issue with self-reported surveys. They aren't always reliable, as people can over- or under-estimate how much they ate.

The survey also doesn't include those in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, military installations and correctional institutions, which could skew the results (though it's not known in what way).

"Fruit" in this survey means 100 percent fruit juice and whole fruit. "Vegetables" include dried beans, dark green vegetables, orange vegetables and other vegetables.

The survey also asked that respondents not include non-100 percent juice or fried potatoes in their reporting – including both would increase the number of people potentially meeting the guidelines.

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