Are we where we eat? Geography has significant influence on fruit and vegetable consumption

December 12, 1999

Those who eat the most produce include residents of the South and African Americans

Americans' consumption of fruits and vegetables varies depending on where they live, according to a recent study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

In a survey of more than 15,000 people in seven regions, residents of the Northeast reported the lowest daily produce consumption (nearly three and a half servings), while those in the South reported the highest (four servings).

Just 17 percent of those surveyed ate the recommended "five-a-day."

The researchers, led by Dr. Beti Thompson of the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division, also noticed various social influences on produce consumption, including race, gender, education and age.

African-Americans consumed the most fruits and vegetables (3.66 servings per day) compared to Caucasians (3.56 servings) and Hispanics (3.01 servings).

College graduates also ate more fruits and vegetables than people with less education, and married people more than single. Higher intake of produce also corresponded with increasing age.

"A single national message to increase fruit and vegetable consumption may not reach the population segments most in need of changing," Thompson and colleagues wrote in an article in the October issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

"It is advisable to spend more time understanding the food consumption habits of the population under investigation to develop messages to foster behavior change," the researchers said.
-end-
Editor's note: To obtain a copy of the article or arrange an interview with Dr. Thompson, please call Kristen Woodward at (206) 667-5095.

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is an independent, nonprofit research institution dedicated to the development and advancement of biomedical technology to eliminate cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. Recognized internationally for its pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation, the Center's four scientific divisions collaborate to form a unique environment for conducting basic and applied science. The Hutchinson Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Pacific Northwest. For more information, visit the Center's Web site at <www.fhcrc.org>.

Advancing knowledge, saving lives

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

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