According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who eat a healthy diet with generous amounts of fruits and vegetables have a reduced risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.1 The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020,2 a joint project of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), recommends that each meal include half a plate of fruits and vegetables. That means adults would eat at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day.
The 2017 Community Health Status Survey found that 2 in 10 Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky adults (23%) eat the recommended daily amount of both fruits and vegetables. That’s about half the percentage of adults who do not eat the recommended amount of either fruits or vegetables (42%).
The percentage of adults eating the recommended amount of both fruits and vegetables rose slightly from 2013 (18%) but is similar to 2010 (22%). Adults are more likely to eat the recommended daily amount of fruits (25%) than vegetables (11%).
Fruit and vegetable consumption varies by income, race and sex. Adults who earn more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG)3 (26%) are more likely than adults who earn 200% FPG or less (18%) to report eating the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. Likewise, African American adults (26%) are more likely than White adults (22%), and women (27%) are more likely than men (18%) to report this.
To eat a healthy diet, it is crucial that people can buy healthy food such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat items without having to travel far. A large majority of the region’s adults (80%) report that it is easy to buy healthy foods in their neighborhood. This is similar to 2013 (81%).
However, easy access to healthy food varies by region. Adults living in Hamilton County’s suburbs (85%) and Butler, Warren and Clinton counties (89%) are more likely than adults living in the City of Cincinnati (65%) and rural counties in Kentucky4 (66%), Ohio5 (75%) and Indiana6 (73%) to report that it is easy to buy healthy foods in their neighborhood.
Access to healthy food also varies by income and race. More than 8 in 10 adults (85%) earning more than 200% FPG report that it is easy to buy healthy foods in their neighborhood. That compares with more than 7 in 10 adults (74%) living between 100% and 200% FPG and fewer than 7 in 10 adults (69%) earning 100% FPG or less. Similarly, slightly more than 6 in 10 African American adults (64%) report that it is easy to buy healthy food in their neighborhood, compared with more than 8 in 10 White adults (82%).
1 For more information about the benefits of fruits and vegetables, visit www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/cdc-resources/.
2 For more information about the dietary guidelines, please visit https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.
3 In 2015, 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines was $24,250 for a family of four; 200% FPG was $48,500.
4 Bracken, Carroll, Gallatin, Owen and Pendleton counties.
5 Adams, Brown, Clermont and Highland counties.
6 Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties.
Interact for Health regularly conducts research and collects data in order to monitor and evaluate our region’s health status and to measure public opinions about health policy.
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