INTRODUCTION: Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthful diet can help lower chronic disease risk and aid in weight management. Increasing the percentage of Americans who consume enough fruits and vegetables every day is part of the Healthy People 2010 objectives for the nation. Assessing trends in consumption of these foods is important for tracking public health initiatives to meet this goal and for planning future objectives. METHODS: We assessed total and sex-specific changes in daily consumption of fruits and vegetables among 1,227,969 adults in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia who participated in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from 1994 through 2005. To estimate changes in consumption according to dietary recommendations that were in place during the years examined, we used geometric mean and the percentage of people eating fruits or vegetables or both five or more times per day. Estimates were standardized for sex, age, and race/ethnicity and analyzed by multivariate regression. RESULTS: From 1994 through 2005, the geometric mean frequency of consumption of fruits and vegetables declined slightly (standardized change: men and women, -0.22 times/day; men, -0.26 times/day; women, -0.17 times/day). The proportion of men and women eating fruits or vegetables or both five or more times per day was virtually unchanged (men, 20.6% vs 20.3%; women, 28.4% vs 29.6%); however, we found small increases for men aged 18 to 24 years and for women who were aged 25 to 34 years, non-Hispanic black, or nonsmokers. Consumption of fruit juice and non-fried potatoes declined for both sexes. CONCLUSION: The frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption changed little from 1994 through 2005. If consumption is to be increased, we must identify and disseminate promising individual and environmental strategies, including policy change.
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