Whole grains, sugary drinks and fruits, oh my — 8 things to know about Americans' diets

A new study on Americans' diets published in JAMA shows, overall, people are improving their eating habits, but many people still don't consume enough fruits or vegetables.

The study included data from seven National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey cycles from 1999 to 2012 for 33,932 noninstitutionalized U.S. adults age 20 or older.

Highlighted below are eight findings from the study.

1. The American Heart Association primary diet score for total fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and shellfish, sugar-sweetened beverages and sodium improved 11.6 percent and the AHA secondary diet score for nuts, seeds and legumes, processed meat, and saturated fat improved 9.7 percent over the course of the time frame studied.

2. Between 1999-2000 and 2011-12, consumption increased for whole grains, nuts or seeds, and fish and shellfish.

3. Consumption decreased for sugar-sweetened beverages.

4. Americans consumed more whole fruits and less 100 percent fruit juice.

5. Intake trends for total fruits and vegetables, processed meat, saturated fat or sodium did not change significantly over the course of the study.

6. The percentage of U.S. adults with poor diets, as defined by AHA diet score components, fell from 55.9 percent to 45.6 percent. The percentage of adults with intermediate diets increased from 43.5 percent to 52.9 percent.

7. Diet trends differed across the board. While the percentage of non-Hispanic white adults with a poor diet decreased from 53.9 percent to 42.8 percent, similar improvements were not observed for non-Hispanic black or Mexican American adults.

8. The disparities between diets for different populations did not improve. In fact, some evidence some evidence suggests the disparities worsened by income level.



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