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Prev Chronic Dis. 2011 Nov;8(6):A133. Epub 2011 Oct 17.

Survey language preference as a predictor of meeting fruit and vegetable objectives among Hispanic adults in the United States, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2009.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, MS K25, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA.



Although Hispanics are a rapidly growing ethnic minority in the United States, the effect of acculturation on the proportion of Hispanics who meet national objectives for fruit and vegetable consumption has not been fully investigated. Our objective was to determine the extent to which ethnicity and acculturation (indicated by survey language preference) are associated with fruit and vegetable consumption among Hispanics in the United States.


Fruit and vegetable consumption among adult respondents to the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System was determined from data collected from the 31 states and 2 territories that offered the fruit and vegetable screener in Spanish and English (n = 287,997). Logistic regression analyses were used to determine whether ethnicity (Hispanic vs non-Hispanic white) and survey language preference (English vs Spanish) were related to meeting objectives of consuming fruit 2 or more times per day and vegetables 3 or more times per day.


More Hispanics (37.6%) than non-Hispanic whites (32.0%) and more Spanish-speaking Hispanics (41.0%) than English-speaking Hispanics (34.7%) ate fruit 2 or more times per day. Conversely, more non-Hispanic whites (28.5%) than Hispanics (18.9%) and more English-speaking Hispanics (21.8%) than Spanish-speaking Hispanics (15.8%) ate vegetables 3 or more times per day. All associations remained significant after controlling for covariates.


Our findings have implications regarding how brief screeners can be used to determine possible dietary disparities among the Hispanic population in the United States and to monitor population goals to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities.

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