Posts Tagged “fruit consumption”

Incomes, Education Linked to Higher Veg Consumption

By |

USDAby Biing-Hwan Lin and Rosanna Mentzer Morrison

Data on vegetable consumption broken down by income level reveal that individuals (children and adults) in households with incomes below 185 percent of the poverty level consumed smaller quantities of potatoes and tomatoes than people in households with incomes above that level. In 2007-08, lower income individuals consumed 49.3 and 28.1 pounds per person per year of potatoes and tomatoes, respectively, and those with higher incomes consumed 53.8 pounds of potatoes and 32.1 pounds of tomatoes per person. A bigger difference was observed in consumption of other vegetables (nonpotato and nontomato): 85.8 pounds per person for higher income individuals versus 69.8 pounds per person for lower income individuals.

The more educated the adult, the more other vegetables (nonpotato and nontomato) eaten. In 2007-08, college-educated adults consumed 187.4 pounds of total vegetables per person per year, of which 100.7 pounds were other vegetables. Adults with only a high school education ate 181.9 pounds of total vegetables per person, of which 87.6 pounds were other vegetables. Adults who had less than a high school education consumed 158.2 pounds per person of all vegetables, of which 76.3 pounds were other vegetables.

Consumption Trends Consistent Across Demographic Groups for Juice…

Total fruit consumption was lower in 2007-08 than in 1994-98 for all four age and gender groups. For example, girls’ consumption of fruit declined from 131.3 pounds per person per year in 1994-98 to 121.2 pounds in 2007-08. Some of the decline in total fruit consumption was due to less orange juice being drunk by all four groups. Orange juice is the largest fruit category in terms of consumption, and average U.S. consumption fell from the equivalent of 38.3 pounds of oranges per person per year in 1994-98 to 30.9 pounds in 2007-08.

Falling orange juice consumption, however, was not the only driver of declining fruit consumption—declines were common for other fruits as well. Apple juice, berries, and grapes were the only fruits and fruit categories that had higher average U.S. consumption in 2007-08 than in 1994-98. Every demographic group examined displayed the same patterns for apple juice and orange juice consumption—larger quantities of apple juice and smaller quantities of orange juice were consumed in 2007-08 versus 1994-98.

… But Not For Whole Fruits

Trends in whole fruit consumption were not consistent across demographic groups. In this study, whole fruits comprised all categories of fruits consumed, minus orange juice and apple juice. Thus, whole fruit consumption includes a relatively small amount of juices from other fruits, such as pineapple juice and grape juice, in addition to whole fruits. Federal dietary guidance advises that at least half a person’s recommended daily intake of fruits be whole fruits.

Whole fruit consumption declined for the age and gender groups between 1994-98 and 2007-08. For example, boys’ consumption of whole fruits fell from 71.9 pounds per person per year in 1994-98 to 65.4 pounds in 2007-08. For non-college-educated adults, consumption of whole fruits was relatively stable over the period, averaging around 65 pounds per person per year; for college-educated adults, it fell from 93.7 pounds in 1994-98 to 83.2 pounds in 2007-08.

Higher income consumers’ consumption of whole fruit fell from 81.2 pounds per person per year in 1994-98 to 75.7 pounds in 2007-08, whereas lower income individuals consumed similar quantities in both periods. Non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics’ consumption of whole fruits declined between 1994-98 and 2007-08, while non-Hispanic Blacks’ consumption in the two periods rose from 65.5 to 71.4 pounds per person per year.

Multiple Factors Affect What We Buy and Eat

ERS’s food availability and loss-adjusted food availability data show that Americans are not increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables, despite the exhortations of health and nutrition experts. Federal food intake surveys also point out lower fruit and vegetable consumption. The big question for future research is why? In some cases, one or two particular fruits and vegetables make up much of the decrease. For vegetables, U.S. potato consumption has fallen from 61.3 to 52.0 pounds per person between 1994-98 and 2007-08, with bigger relative drops for boys and no change in potato consumption for non-Hispanic Blacks. Declining orange juice consumption among all demographic groups is the largest contributor to lower fruit consumption.

Substitution among some products is also evident. Head lettuce is down, but leafy greens—such as spinach and kale—are up. Between 1994-98 and 2007-08, consumption of nonpotato and nontomato vegetables by women grew slightly from 85.5 to 87.7 pounds per person per year. For girls, boys, and men, small declines in consumption of nonpotato and nontomato vegetables occurred. Less bananas and citrus fruits are being consumed, but consumption of berries has risen over the decade. Increases in some whole fruits were not enough to offset declines in other fruits, and whole fruit consumption fell for all age and gender groups.

Food choices are complex, and a multitude of factors affect what we buy and eat. Life style changes and time constraints can determine if we sit down with a glass of orange juice for breakfast, grab a banana on the way out, or forgo the meal altogether. Time for and interest in cooking play a role, too. More eating out could mean more fries on the side or consumption of vegetables not usually prepared at home. Dietary fads and widespread popularity of ethnic cuisines can cause shifts in food choices, including for fruits and vegetables.

The price of products and the income available to buy them can also affect a person’s food choices. Smaller food budgets over time or higher prices due to supply constraints or other factors can induce one to switch to a lower priced alternative food item. Observing national trends and patterns for demographic groups is a first step in analyzing what is driving food choice and potential changes over time.


Read more »

Fresh Apples Rank No. 1 with Kids

By |

IMG_6870Fresh apples are the No. 1 fruit consumed by children.
A new study, called  Fruit Consumption by Youth in the United States,  published in the online journal Pediatrics, surveyed more than 3,100 youth from ages two to 19 years, examining fruit consumption and differences by age, gender, race and poverty status.
The study found that nearly 90% of total fruit intake came from whole fruits (53%) and 100% fruit juice (34%), according to the study.  Apples, apple juice, citrus juice and bananas make up about half of total fruit consumption, according to the study.
Fresh apples accounted for 18.9% of total fruit consumption among children, according to the study, and apple juice accounted for about 10%.
“This is fantastic news,” said Wendy Brannen. director of consumer health and education for the U.S. Apple Association, Vienna, Va. “The great thing about this study that has come out in Pediatrics magazine is that it has been repeated everywhere from CNN to U.S. News and World Report to local and regional morning shows from Chattanooga to New York City, and the exposure for us is priceless.”
Brannen said the study, which has been covered by dozens of media outlets since it recently came out, will encourage families to consume more apples.
The study said apple juice accounted for 16.8% of fruit consumption for children ages two to five years, but that fell to 8.8% for children six to 11 years old.  On the other hand, fresh apples represented 22.4% of fruit consumption for children six to 11 years old, but just 8.8% of total fruit consumed for two- to five-year-olds.

Read more »

Californians, Oregonians Lead in Veggie Consumption

By |

DSCN4878Residents of California lead the nation in vegetable consumption, while neighboring Oregon is second.

Even though Oregon is second, most folks here aren’t eating enough, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 11 percent of Oregonians are eating the recommended two to three cups of vegetables a day, second only to California, where 13 percent eat enough veggies, CDC researchers report.

Nationwide, only 8.9 percent of Americans are eating two to three cups of vegetables every day as recommended.

Fruit consumption is slightly better. About 14.5 percent of Oregonians are eating the recommended 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit a day, compared with 13.1 percent of all Americans and 17.7 percent of people in California.

Fruits and vegetables are important in lowering a person’s risk of developing chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, said Jordana Turkel, a registered dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

For example, they contain a lot of fiber, which helps control spikes in blood glucose levels by slowing the digestive process, and the fact that they are generally low in fat helps lower cholesterol levels.

“We are seeing now what is going to happen if this trend continues,” Turkel said. “Obesity is on the rise. The rates of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are on the rise. I think we are seeing the effects of all of this now.”

Read more »

Low Produce Consumption is Confirmed by Report

By |

DSCN2822+1Americans are far short of where health officials and the produce industry would like them to be when it comes to eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

A new method of estimating how much fresh produce consumption by Americans should provide more accurate data, but the disappointing bottom line still comes up.

A report, Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendation – United States, 2013,  from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimates 91% of Americans failed to eat enough vegetables and 87% failed to eat enough fruit in 2013, based on government guidelines.

“Substantial new efforts are needed to build consumer demand for fruits and vegetables through competitive pricing, placement and promotion in child care settings, schools, grocery stores, communities and worksites,” according to the CDC’s July 10 report.

Neither the statistics nor the recommendations surprised Elizabeth Pivonka, president and CEO of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Hockessin, Del. She said the state-by-state breakdown in the report confirms previous research, showing that residents of Southern states have the lowest consumption of produce, which the CDC says leads to higher rates of stroke, heart disease and cancer.

“This is the first year they are asking about the frequency at which people are eating fruits and vegetables,” Pivonka said. “That means we can’t really compare this survey to previous years, but it gives us a new baseline that is probably a better way to measure what people are doing.”

The survey for 2013 asked respondents how many times per day, week or month they consumed 100% fruit juice, whole fruit, dried beans, dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, and other vegetables over the previous month as part of the rotating core questionnaire administered every other year. The survey specifically excluded fried potatoes.

If fried potatoes are included, estimates for vegetable consumption are 30% to 44% higher, according to the report.  If non-100% juice beverages are included, fruit consumption is 4% to 6% higher.

Highlights from the report include:

  • During 2007-2010, half of the total U.S. population consumed less than 1 cup of fruit and less than 1.5 cups of vegetables daily;
  • Median frequency of reported fruit intake across all respondents for 2013 was once per day, ranging from 0.9 in Arkansas to 1.3 times per day in California; and
  • Median frequency of reported vegetable intake for 2013 was 1.7 times per day, ranging from lows of 1.4 times a day in Louisiana, Mississippi, and North Dakota to 1.9 times per day in California and Oregon.

The survey logged responses from 373,580 respondents.  Another 118,193 took the survey, but they were not included in the results for various reasons, including non-resident status, failure to answer all questions or providing “implausible reports” of eating fruit more than 16 times a day and eating vegetables more than 23 times a day.

Read more »

USDA Report Points to Fruit Consumption, Lower Body Weight

By |

DSCN2835A USDA Economic Research Service report reports higher consumption of fruit is associated with a lower body weight, but  the same does not appear to be true for vegetables.

The USDA’s report, called “Healthy Vegetables Undermined by the Company They Keep,” said that processing and preparation methods plays a role in the influence of fruits and vegetables on body weight.

“Earlier ERS research found fruit consumption to be linked to healthier weight status, but for vegetable consumption there was no such link,” said report authors Joanne Guthrie and Biing-Hwan Lin. The report, issued in early May, said fruits are consumed in their natural states more than vegetables.

“Unlike naturally sweet fruit, Americans may find vegetables more palatable if prepared with added fats or oils, such as in fried potatoes or creamed spinach, or in a mixed dish like pizza,” according to the study.  Americans often eat vegetables prepared in ways that add calories and sodium and remove dietary fiber.

Research in 2002 found that, on average, healthy weight children and adults ate more fruit than their overweight peers.

“Higher fruit consumption was associated with lower BMI for adult men and women and for adolescent girls and boys 10 years of age and above,” according to the study. However, total vegetable consumption had no association with body weight, the authors said. The 2002 study found that when vegetables were separated into two groups — white potatoes only, and all other vegetables — white potato intake was associated with higher BMI for both adult men and women. The study found that intake of vegetables other than potatoes was associated with lower BMI among women but not among any other age-sex groups.

Read more »

Hey Grumpy Pants! Eat More Kiwifruit

By |

IMG_6861Researchers from New Zealand’s University of Otago, Christchurch have found that daily consumption of two kiwifruit can significantly lift a person’s mood and energy levels.

In a study that was published in the Journal of Nutritional Science (JNS), the effects of the fruit on a group of 54 healthy young male university students was monitored over six weeks, with one group consuming two kiwifruit per day and the other consuming half a kiwifruit daily.

Those with higher consumption experienced significantly less fatigue and depression than the other group, and felt they had more energy.

Scientists inferred this was likely related to the two kiwifruit dose optimizing vitamin C intake, as the sample group had a low fruit consumption beforehand.

The research used a gold variety of kiwifruit.

Professor Margreet Vissers and her team from the UOC’s Centre for Free Radical Research are involved in a large on-going study to better understand the critical role of vitamin C in the human body.

“Our study provides good evidence to support the view that there are measureable health benefits to be obtained from eating a good amount of fruit and vegetables daily. For best benefit, it is important to include high vitamin C foods in your daily diet,” she said in a release.

Vissers said vitamin C helped activate a number of enzymes in the body that enhanced the levels of metabolic energy and different neurochemicals in the brain.

The study was funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as well as the University of Otago and kiwifruit marketer Zespri International.

Read more »