Research Research and Professional Briefs| Volume 112, ISSUE 5, P699-704, May 2012

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Limited Percentages of Adults in Washington State Meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Recommended Intakes of Fruits and Vegetables

Published:April 25, 2012DOI:


      Nutritious diets that include sufficient intake of fruits and vegetables promote health and reduce risk for chronic diseases. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend four to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables daily for energy intake levels of 1,000 to 3,200 kcal, including seven to 13 servings for 1,600 to 3,000 kcal/day as recommended for adults aged ≥25 years. The 2006-2007 Washington Adult Health Survey, a cross-sectional study designed to measure risk factors for cardiovascular disease among a representative sample of Washington State residents aged ≥25 years, included a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). The FFQ included approximately 120 food items and summary questions for fruits and vegetables that were used to compute energy intake and two measures of fruit and vegetable intake. Measure 1 was computed as the sum of intake of individual FFQ fruit and vegetable items; Measure 2 combined the summary questions with selected individual FFQ fruit and vegetable items. Depending on the measure used, approximately 14% to 22% of 519 participants with complete information met the guidelines for fruits, 11% to 15% for vegetables, and 5% to 6% for both fruits and vegetables. Participants aged ≥65 years and women were more likely to meet recommendations, compared with younger participants and men. Despite decades of public health attention, the vast majority of Washington State residents do not consume the recommended amount of fruits or vegetables daily. These findings underscore the need for developing and evaluating new approaches to promote fruit and vegetable consumption.


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      M.L. Ta is an epidemiologist in the Assessment, Policy Development, and Evaluation Unit, Public Health–Seattle and King County, Seattle, WA; at the time of the study, she was an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer assigned to the Washington State Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA


      J. VanEenwyk is the State Epidemiologist for Non-Infectious Conditions, Washington State Department of Health, Olympia


      L. Bensley is an epidemiologist, Washington State Department of Health, Olympia