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J Am Diet Assoc. 1991 Dec;91(12):1526-31.

Dietary diversity in the US population, NHANES II, 1976-1980.

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City University of New York, Queens College, Flushing 11367-0904.


The extent of diversity in the diets of black and white adults (n = 11,658) aged 19 to 74 years was evaluated from 24-hour dietary recalls obtained in the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Each 24-hour recall was evaluated for the consumption of items from the dairy, meat, grain, fruit, and vegetable groups (Food Group Score). A second scoring method (Serving Score) evaluated every recall for consumption of at least two servings each from dairy, meat, fruit, and vegetable groups and four servings from the grain group. Only a third of the population surveyed reported consuming foods from all the food groups on the survey day; less than 3% reported consuming foods from all food groups in at least the recommended amount. Blacks scored lower on both types of diet diversity scores than whites. Both types of diversity scores showed a significant trend to increase with increasing income and level of education. Failure to consume any foods from the dairy, meat, grain, fruit, and vegetable groups was reported by 24%, 6%, 5%, 46%, and 18%, respectively, of the population on the survey day. The proportion of the population consuming at least the desired number of servings from each of these food groups was 51%, 71%, 29%, 29%, 61%, respectively. The results emphasize the need for major public campaigns directed at increasing the diversity of US diets. Special target groups include minorities and those with limited income and formal education.

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