Fruit and vegetable intake in the United States: the baseline survey of the Five A Day for Better Health Program

Am J Health Promot. 1995 May-Jun;9(5):352-60. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-9.5.352.


Purpose: The purpose of the Five A Day Baseline Survey was to assess fruit and vegetable intake and associated factors among US adults.

Design: Questionnaires querying frequency of intake of 33 fruits and vegetables, as well as demographics, attitudes, and knowledge related to fruits and vegetables were administered by telephone.

Setting: The study was a nationally representative random digit dial survey conducted by telephone in the summer of 1991; response rate was 42.8%.

Subjects: Respondents were 2811 US adults (including an oversample of African-Americans and Hispanics).

Measures: Mean and median self-reported intakes of fruits and vegetables were calculated. Estimated servings per week were adjusted on the basis of responses to summary questions regarding overall fruit and vegetable intakes.

Results: Median intake of fruits and vegetables was 3.4 servings per day. Linear regressions (accounting for no more than 10% of the variation) showed that education, income, and smoking status were predictors of fruit and vegetable intake and that intake increased with education, income, and nonsmoking status. Women had higher intakes than men at all ages; these differences between men and women increased with age. Fruit and vegetable intakes increased with age for whites and Hispanics, but not for African-Americans.

Conclusions: Fruit and vegetable intake among adults in the United States is lower than the recommended minimum of five daily servings. These data will be useful in targeting campaign efforts and in assessing progress of the Five A Day for Better Health Program.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Demography
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States
  • Vegetables*