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CDC Dietary Report: Is Connecticut Really the Nation's Fruit-Eating King?

January 27, 2022

Connecticut has the highest percentage of residents who meet daily fruit recommendations and only two states have a higher percentage meeting daily vegetable recommendations, according to an otherwise dreary Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system report released earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 12 percent of Americans eat enough fruit and only 10 percent eat enough vegetables, based on estimates using results from the most recent (2019) BRFSS survey of 300,000 participants. The survey asked people to compare their eating habits to recommendations of 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruits and 2 to 4 cups of vegetables each day outlined in the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Participants reported eating fruit a median of only once a day and eating vegetables a median of 1.6 times a day. How to become a better consumer of fruits and vegetables? “I always tell people, ‘Eat the rainbow,’" says Shannon Haynes, a registered dietician at Backus Hospital in Norwich, "because all the different colors of produce contain different antioxidants that offer different health benefits. The more diverse your diet the better.” In the survey, more respondents from Connecticut (16.1 percent) said they met the daily fruit recommendations and only Vermont (16.0 percent) and New York (14.2 percent) had a higher percentage of people meeting daily vegetable recommendations than Connecticut (14.1 percent). West Virginia (8.4 percent) reported the lowest percentage of respondents meeting daily fruit recommendations, with Kentucky (5.6 percent) the lowest percentage meeting daily vegetable recommendations. Other results:

  • Highest prevalence of meeting fruit recommendations: Hispanic adults (16.4 percent).
  • Lowest prevalence of meeting fruit recommendations: Males (10.1 percent).
  • Highest prevalence of meeting vegetable recommendations: Adult males at least 51 years old (12.5 percent).
  • Lowest prevalence of meeting vegetable recommendations: Those living below or close to the poverty level (6.8 percent).
"Too few U.S. residents consume the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables," the study's authors said. "Following a dietary pattern that includes sufficient fruits and vegetables can help protect against some chronic conditions that are among the leading causes of mortality in the United States; some of these conditions are also associated with more severe illness from COVID-19." To view the complete report, click here.