As shown above, only 13.1% and 8.9% of Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables, respectively. Additionally, two lessons are immediately visible in the data. First, people who live in the South eat the fewest fruits and veggies. (The nine states with the lowest fruit consumption are all southern states.) Second, Californians eat the most fruits and veggies. But they have no reason to brag: only 17.7% and 13% of Californians eat enough fruits and vegetables, respectively.
There has been much talk of so-called “food deserts” — places with few supermarkets selling fresh produce. These food deserts have been blamed, in part, for the American obesity epidemic. (Food deserts are a particular problem in the U.S. South.) However, this new data from the CDC throws into question just how much of an effect food deserts have on Americans’ dietary choices. Even states with fantastic access to fresh food, such as New York and California, still exhibit pathetically low rates of fruit and vegetable intake.