According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, most American adults aren’t eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. The data was collected by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an ongoing survey sponsored by the CDC that tracks healthy and unhealthy actions in Americans. The survey found that only 13.1 percent of Americans are eating the recommended one to one-and-a-half cups of fruit every day, and just 8.9 percent are eating two to three cups of vegetables as recommended.

The results varied widely state-by-state. People eating enough fruit ranged from highs in California (17.7 percent) and New York (15.5 percent) to lows in Tennessee (7.5 percent), West Virginia (7.7 percent), and Oklahoma (8.2 percent). When it came to eating enough veggies, California took the lead again with 13 percent of people eating the recommended daily amount. The low end consisted of Mississippi (5.5 percent), Oklahoma (5.8 percent), and Tennessee (6.2 percent).

Fruits and vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and some cancers. They are also a key part of weight management, and hold many key nutrients that keep the human body running efficiently.

The authors of the study suggested a boost in efforts to increase demand and consumption, which could entail a boost in childhood intake and improving fruit and vegetable accessibility, placement, and promotion in grocery stores. They also recommend workplace changes, in which fruits and vegetables are offered at meetings, conferences, and other events.

The CDC has seen, however, that most children are at least eating a serving of both fruits and vegetables in an average day. Ninety percent of children aged 2 to 5 ate fruit on a given day, according to the research. But this consumption declines as kids transition from preschool to high school, with only six out of every ten teens eating fruit daily. The same trend was seen somewhat less drastically with vegetables, with 93 percent of children aged 2 to 11 eating vegetables every day, and the figure dropping to 90 percent in the age range of 12 to 19. Of course, all of this ends with the less-than-stellar rates of consumption that were reported for adults.

Source: Moore L, Thompson F. Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations — United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2015.