The Number Of Americans Who Eat Enough Fruits And Veggies Is Tragic

Unsplash/Brina Blum

We have a serious problem here.

According to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a staggering 90 percent of Americans don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables in their typical diets every day. That means only one in 10 people get the proper nutrition they need from plant-based foods on a consistent basis. One.

Just let that sink in for a moment.

Unsplash/Nirzar Pangarkar

Demographically and socioeconomically speaking, the three main groups that struggle to meet their daily needs of fruits and veggies include men, young adults and those living in poverty. For reasons like poor accessibility, food cost and perceived prep time, these people are missing out on essential vitamins, minerals and fiber that fruits and vegetables provide (and other foods don’t).

Unless those with dietary deficiencies are loading up on nutrition supplements — which isn’t likely — these numbers have huge ramifications for the state of our public’s health. Lacking these nutritional components puts people at risk of developing diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease.

Federal guidelines recommend that adults consume 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day, which really isn’t asking that much. And if you think it sounds extreme, whip out a cup measure and see for yourself how these portions would fill a plate, let alone several plates over the course of the day.

Changing these numbers for the better needs to be a health priority for all of us as a country. Deciding to make it happen is the first (and biggest) hurdle in overcoming this obstacle. Because even for those on a tight budget, you don’t have to down an $8 bag of organic kale to see improvement — a $1 bag of carrots is just as good of a starting place.