Only 1 in 10 Adults Get Enough Fruits or Vegetables

Men, younger adults, and people with lower incomes get the fewest

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of many leading causes of illness and death, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity. Despite these positive health benefits, few adults meet the recommendations.

Only 9% of adults ate the recommended amount of vegetables and 12% of adults ate the recommended amount of fruit, according to a CDC analysis of data from the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance SystemResults showed that consumption was lower among men, young adults, and adults with lower incomes.

The study also found variations by state. For example, adults meeting fruit or vegetable recommendations ranged from 6% in West Virginia to 16% in Washington DC.

Overall there were no significant differences between different race/ethnicity groups for meeting the vegetable recommendations. However, in 10 states, a significantly higher percentage of people who were Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black met recommendations for fruit intake than did people who were non-Hispanic White.

Adults Meeting Recommendations, 2015
Adults Meeting Recommendations, 2015
Fruits 12.2%
Vegetables 9.3%

Continued efforts are needed to identify and address barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption. Previous studies have found that high cost, limited availability and access, and perceived lack of cooking/preparation time can be barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption.
The CDC Guide to Strategies to Increase the Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables pdf icon[PDF-2.06MB] suggests 10 strategies to increase access to fruits and vegetables, including these:

  • Start or expand farm-to-institution programs in childcare, schools, hospitals, workplaces, and other institutions.
  • Improve access to retail stores and markets that sell high quality fruits and vegetables.
  • Ensure access to fruits and vegetables in cafeterias and other food service venues in worksites, hospitals, and universities.

Time and money don’t have to be barriers to eating well. Visit MyPlateexternal icon from the US Department of Agriculture to learn how to make every bite count.

A woman shopping for produce at a farmer's market

In 2015, only 1 in 10 adults consumed enough fruits and vegetables daily.

A man shopping for fresh fruit

Men, younger adults, and people living in poverty get less fruit and vegetables than their peers.

A woman eating a salad.

Dinner tends to be when adults + children eat most of their veggies. If you’re not getting enough, try adding them to your lunch!

A bowl of cereal with fruit on top.

Are you getting enough fruits and vegetables every day? Try adding fruit to your breakfast.

How much is enough?

The federal fruit and vegetable recommendations vary by age and sex:

Adult women need at least 1½ cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables each day

Adult men need at least 2 cups of fruit and 3½ cups of vegetables each day.

Learn more: MyPlate Planexternal icon

Learn more! Read the Science and Brief pdf icon[290 KB, 2 Pages, 508] or listen to the podcast [03:58 minutes] associated with this MMWR.

Add more color to your plate!

  • Save time and money by chopping extra fruit or vegetables at one time and freezing the extra.
  • Choose frozen or canned fruits and vegetables at the store.
  • Most adults get their fruit at breakfast. Add more fruit to your diet by grabbing a small apple or banana as your afternoon snack.
  • Dinner time is when most adults eat their vegetables. Get more veggies in your diet by adding them to your lunch time sandwich, or packing carrot sticks or grape tomatoes as a snack.
  • Learn how to put your best fork forward and add more fruit and vegetables to your diet.
  • For more tips on convenient and affordable ways to eat a healthy diet, please visit MyPlate Planexternal icon.