Poll: Only 23% of Kentuckians say they eat recommended daily portions of fruits and vegetables; cost and location may be factors

Only 23 percent of Kentuckians eat the recommended daily portions of fruits and vegetables, and cost and accessibility of food may be factors, according to a recent statewide poll.

Fruit and vegetable consumption can decrease a person’s chance of developing chronic diseases like cancer and high blood pressure. Kentuckians fall short of the recommended portions; 26 percent eat the recommended amount of fruit, 12 percent eat the recommended amount of vegetables, and 39 percent don’t meet either recommendation, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll, taken Oct. 25 through Nov. 26.

The recommended dietary suggestion for adults is to make half their plate fruits and vegetables at every meal.  This guideline assures that  adults would get at least two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables per day, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines.
Some Kentuckians seem to know they don’t eat well; only 39 percent of those surveyed said they have an excellent or very good diet. In general, those who claimed to have better diets also had better health, which comes as no surprise. However, 38 percent of adults who claimed excellent or very good health did not meet the dietary recommendation for fruit or vegetable consumption.

Income appears to be an influencing factor, because just 30 percent of Kentuckians whose incomes are below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (the limit for Medicaid) said they have an excellent or very good diet, while 47 percent with incomes above 200 percent of the FPL said they did. Although 81 percent of those surveyed said they had easy access to healthy foods, of those in non-Appalachian counties 10 percent said they did not; the latter number was higher in Appalachian counties, where 20 percent said they did not.

Cost is also a concern. Half of the respondents said fruit and vegetable prices in their areas are fair to poor, and only 19 percent reported excellent or very good prices.

The Kentucky Health Issues Poll is funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health, formerly the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. It surveyed 1,551 randomly selected Kentucky adults,

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