According to the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, (USDA ERS), in 2010 fruits and vegetables accounted for merely .08% of the average American diet. In contrast, grains composed 23%, added fats and
oils contributed to 22%, and caloric sweeteners accounted for 15%. If you compare this with the statistics recorded in 1970, grains, (primarily refined), fats and oils have accounted for an overall estimated 15% increase in calories to the American diet. That is an astounding ratio of low consumption of fruits and vegetables in the diet; to high consumption of sweets and refined grains.
Availability, and Breakdown of Produce Consumption
USDA data reports that fruits, and vegetables form 0.8% of the average American diet. Further information suggests that Americans age 2-30 get more than 50% of their fruit consumption from juice.
Peruse the product labels of juices found at many retail stores, (grocery, convenience, and discount stores). Consequently, what you will find is that many fruit juices consist of added sweeteners, colors, artificial flavorings, and other additives. However, fruit juice has a higher rate of availability than fresh produce. This link cites the direct impact of market and product availability on population. These statistics are not representative of American’s eating habits so much as they are the result of the impact of product availability on American’s eating habits.
Further, a breakdown of American’s fruit and vegetable consumption suggests potatoes and tomatoes contribute to the highest vegetable consumption. In 2012, on average, Americans each consumed 52.3lbs. of potatoes, (1/2 fresh). In the same year, each American on average polished off 31.1lbs. of tomatoes, (59% canned). French fries and pizza easily account for these findings. With regards to fruit intake, 107.6lb per person of fresh and processed fruit.
Simple Health Strategies
Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is the simple and effective health strategy. Availability is the key. Industries that have long been thriving on the poor health of the individual are bracing for change. Companies can no longer ignore the rise in health consciousness as people are becoming more engaged in the process of food choices and acknowledging a connection between their food to their environment. Americans are able to communicate with others on a global level by sharing knowledge and experiences. According to Pew Research Center, over 205,808,420 people in the United States own, and carry a tool that instantly delivers information on any subject. In summary, children today following a diet consistent with the new USDA guidelines recommending half of meals be composed of fruits and vegetables will establish a foundation for healthier eating habits of future generations and lead to increased market availability.
Bibliography: Bentley, Jeanine. Food Availability and Consumption. [05/19/2014.] “USDA Economic Research Service” [http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ag-and-food-statistics-charting-the-essentials/food-availability-and-consumption.aspx][8/23/2015.]; Smith, Aaron. Adoption and Usage. [07/11/11.] “Pew Research Center Internet, Science & Technology” [http://pewresearch.org/2011/07/11/smartphone-adoption-and-usage] [8/23/2015.]; “United States Census Bureau; U.S. and World Population Clock” [http://www.census.gov/popclock] [8/23/2015.]; Image: “USDA” [http://www.choosemyplate.gov]