Objective To examine baseline rates of fruit and vegetable consumption amon
g adults in the 5 A Day research trials in order to identify any regional a
nd sociodemographic differences associated with daily servings.
Design The main outcome measure was the frequency of fruits and vegetables
consumed within 1 month of the baseline survey as assessed by a 7-item food
frequency questionnaire (FFQ).
Subjects/setting Participants (N=15,060) were from 7 study centers. Study c
enters included schools (N=48), worksites (N=60), churches (N=50), or the S
pecial Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC
) clinics (N=15) in interventions to increase fruit and vegetable consumpti
Statistical analyses Means and standard errors, adjusting for clusters, wer
e calculated. A mixed linear model analyzed relationships between fruit and
vegetable consumption and regional center, gender, age, race, education, i
ncome, marital status, food-shopping responsibility, and whether one lives
Results Results indicate an overall mean intake of 3.6 daily servings of fr
uits and vegetables. Significant differences in mean daily servings were fo
und among the regional study centers (low of 3.0 to high of 4.1). There wer
e significant differences in mean daily consumption by age (<30 years= 3.7
servings per day; 30 to 49 years=3.4; greater than or equal to 50 years=3.7
), education (>high school=3.4 servings per day; high school graduate=3.4;
some college=3.5; college graduate=3.9), race (black=3.7 servings per day;
Hispanic=3.0; white=3.6; other=3.7), marital status (married=3.6 servings p
er day; single=3.5), and food-shopping responsibilities (little=3.2 serving
s per day; about half=3.6; most=3.8). Only 17% of respondents ate 5 or more
servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
Conclusions The 7 regions showed significant variability in daily fruit and
vegetable consumption, suggesting that a single national message to increa
se fruit and vegetable consumption may not reach the population segments mo
st in need of changing. It is advisable to spend more time understanding th
e food consumption habits of the population under investigation to develop
messages to foster behavior change.