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Study: Southerners low on fruits, veggies

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As it turns out, it’s not just little kids who avoid eating their fruits and veggies. According to a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 13.1 percent of American adults meet the federal daily fruit intake recommendation, and only 8.9 percent meet the federal daily vegetable intake recommendation.

The experts at HealthGrove set out to see which states have the best and worst fruit and veggie consumption. As it turns out, there is substantial variation in fruit and veggie intake by state.

Southern states have the smallest population meeting the federal fruit intake recommendation. This is somewhat unsurprising, considering the CDC reports that the South also has the highest prevalence of obesity in the U.S. (30.2 percent), which could be attributed to the lack of fruits and vegetables consumed in the South. In terms of low fruit intake, Tennessee takes the lead, with only 7.5 percent of the population meeting federal recommendations, followed by West Virginia (7.7 percent) and Oklahoma (8.2 percent).

HealthGrove used data to create two heat maps which help illustrate the variation across the U.S. The first map shows the percentage of each state’s adult population that met federal fruit intake recommendations in 2013:

After analyzing fruit intake, HealthGrove tackled vegetables and created a heat map that shows the percentage of each state’s adult population that met federal vegetable intake recommendations in 2013:

The state with the lowest vegetable intake is Mississippi, which also happens to be the state tied for the highest obesity rate in the U.S. Next in line are Oklahoma (5.8 percent), Tennessee (6.2 percent) and North Dakota (6.4 percent).

California takes the lead on both fruit and vegetable consumption.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) state that adults who engage in less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day should consume between 1.5 and 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily. These cup measurements end up translating to about nine servings of fruits and veggies per day, which is probably what you remember hearing as a kid (and resisting at the kitchen table).