Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

People whose diets are rich in plant foods such as fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of getting cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, and lung, and some evidence suggests that maintaining a diet rich in plant foods also lowers the risk of cancers of the colon, pancreas, and prostate. This diet also reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, helps to reduce calorie intake, and may help to control weight.

To help prevent the aforementioned cancers and other chronic diseases, experts recommend the daily consumption of 2 to 6.5 cups of fruits and vegetables, depending on one’s energy needs. This includes 1 to 2.5 cups of fruits and 1 to 4 cups of vegetables, with special emphasis on dark green and orange vegetables and legumes. There is no evidence that the popular white potato protects against cancer.

Average daily cup equivalents per 1,000 calories of fruits and vegetables for people aged 2 years and older. This measure includes fruits and vegetables from all sources.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Food Surveys Research Group (Beltsville, MD). Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals 1994-96, 1998.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

The Cancer Trends Progress Report uses NHANES data through 2017-2018. The 2019-2020 cycle was not completed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is available at NHANES Questionnaires, Datasets, and Related Documentation.

  • Increase the consumption of fruits by persons aged 2 years and over to 0.56 cup equivalents of fruit per 1,000 calories.
  • Increase the consumption of total vegetables by persons aged 2 years and over to 0.84 cup equivalents of total vegetables per 1,000 calories.

Healthy People 2030 is a set of goals set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Note: Goals are indicated as blue line on Detailed Trend Graphs.

Non-Significant Change
Diet and Alcohol