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J Natl Med Assoc. 2004 Dec; 96(12): 1599–1605.
PMCID: PMC2568677

Fruit, vegetable and fat intake in a population-based sample of African Americans.


BACKGROUND: African Americans experience high rates of obesity and other chronic diseases, which may be related, in part, to diet. However, little is known about dietary patterns in this population, particularly from population-based data sources. METHODS: A cross-sectional analysis was conducted of 2,172 African-American adults in Project DIRECT (Diabetes Interventions Reaching and Educating Communities Together). A baseline assessment was conducted using a multistaged population-based probability sample from Raleigh and Greensboro, NC. Daily fruit, vegetable and fat intake was evaluated using a modified version of the Block questionnaire, and then stratified results were analyzed by sociodemographic, health and behavior characteristics. STATA Survey commands were used to account for the complex survey design. RESULTS: Overall, a very small number of participants met national recommendations for > or = 2 servings of fruit (8%) and > or = 3 servings of vegetables (16%) per day. Many participants reported eating high-fat foods; the average daily fat intake was 86 g, and the average daily intake from saturated fat was 24 g. People with more education and higher incomes had a higher average daily fruit intake (all p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The data suggest that participants' fruit, vegetable and fat intake deviated greatly from national guidelines; older people, women, participants with higher socioeconomic status and those who were physically active consumed healthier foods. These data may be useful in developing dietary and weight loss interventions for African Americans.

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