90% of US has a poor diet, and 25% doesn’t exercise

A bowl of salad is on a table.

As the Pandemic enters its third year with cases and hospitalizations as high as ever, fresh data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us that we already had a long track record of failing to manage our health.

The latest data from a decades-long health survey shows that the vast majority of Americans have a poor diet and are inactive. According to recent responses to the CDC's survey, just 10 percent of Americans eat enough vegetables and 12 percent eat enough fruit. 25 percent of Americans don't exercise outside of work.

The CDC notes that a poor diet and lack of activity can cause diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and certain cancers.

According to the CDC, following a diet that includes sufficient fruits and vegetables can help protect against some chronic conditions that are among the leading causes of mortality in the United States. Some of these conditions are associated with more severe illness.

The CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity has a director who spoke about the importance of exercise. One in 10 premature deaths could be prevented by getting enough physical activity. "Too many people are missing out on the health benefits of physical activity such as improved sleep, reduced blood pressure and anxiety, lowered risk for heart disease, several cancers, and dementia (including Alzheimer's disease)."

The data came from 300,000 US participants who responded to the survey before the Pandemic hit the US. The people were asked about their eating habits and how they compared to the government's recommendations. Adults should eat 2 to 4 cups of vegetables and 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruits per day according to the guidance.


Respondents reported eating fruit a median of once a day and eating vegetables a median of 1.6 times a day. The CDC researchers used food-recall reports to estimate how much people should eat based on how often they eat fruits and vegetables.

There is a health breakdown.

Only 10 percent of adults met veggie recommendations, with a range of 5.6 percent among Kentucky residents and 16 percent in Vermont. Only 12.3 percent of people met fruit recommendations, which ranged from 8.4 percent in West Virginia to 16.1 percent in Connecticut. The results were the same as from the previous year.

There were demographic differences as well as geographic ones. Women were more likely to eat fruit and vegetables. Older people were more likely to get vegetables. Hispanic adults were more likely to eat fruit. Black adults in California, Massachusetts, and Nevada were less likely to get enough vegetables than their white counterparts. People in the highest-income groups were more likely to meet vegetable recommendations.

The survey relies on self-reported data to assess its effectiveness. The CDC believes that the Pandemic may have worsened the already dismal fruit and veggie intake estimates. Problems in the supply chain can make it harder to get produce. healthy diet plans can be thrown off by the stress of the Pandemic.

Gyms closing and disruptions to work and day care schedules are likely to have been caused by the Pandemic. 25 percent of people weren't doing any exercise outside of work. There were geographic and demographic differences as well as the fruit and veggie intake data. The South was the most inactive. Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia had more than 30 percent of their adults report being inactive. Only 18 percent of adults in Colorado said they were inactive.

Hispanic adults had the highest prevalence of physical activity, with 32 percent saying they didn't exercise outside of work, while non- Hispanic Asian adults had the lowest.

According to the government's Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (such as brisk walking or raking leaves) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (such as jogging, shoveling snow, or taking a vigorous exercise class) per week.