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Am J Public Health. 1990 December; 80(12): 1443–1449.
PMCID: PMC1405127

Fruit and vegetables in the American diet: data from the NHANES II survey.


Twenty-four hour dietary recall data from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1976-80) were used to estimate the numbers of servings of fruit and vegetables consumed by Black and White adults, to examine the types of servings (e.g., potatoes, garden vegetables, fruit, and juice), and to estimate the mean intake of calories, fat, dietary fiber, and vitamins A and C by number of servings. An estimated 45 percent of the population had no servings of fruit or juice and 22 percent had no servings of a vegetable on the recall day. Only 27 percent consumed the three or more servings of vegetables and 29 percent had the two or more servings of fruit recommended by the US Departments of Agriculture and of Health and Human Services; 9 percent had both. Consumption was lower among Blacks than Whites. The choice of vegetables lacked variety. Diets including at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit contained about 17 grams of dietary fiber. Although caloric and fat intake increased with increasing servings of fruit and vegetables, the percent of calories from fat remained relatively constant. Although these data are 10 years old, more recent surveys have shown similar results. The discrepancy between dietary guidelines and the actual diet suggests a need for extensive public education.

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Selected References

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