Mapping Out American's Produce Consumption
Did you know that where you live in the U.S. could determine whether or not you eat your daily-recommended allowance of fruits and vegetables?
The CDC recently released a map along with its State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables that publicized which U.S. states were falling behind in the consumption of both. With this map, the CDC hopes to reveal nutrition trends around the country and explain why these trends occur in the first place.
The most evident trends are that people living along the east and west coasts generally eat the most produce, while the midwest and the south fall behind. The CDC explains that this trend may arise because of the higher prevalence of farmers’ markets and environmental supports on the coastlines in comparison to the higher grain and livestock production in the country’s middle region.
Further, food deserts — the low-income and low-access areas of the country in which people live at least ten miles from the nearest supermarket in rural areas — are more prevalent in the midwest than on the coastline. People living in these food deserts may find it hard to consume enough fruits and vegetables when they only have access to a small convenience store or supermarket with small or non-existent produce sections.
Reading the CDC report makes it hard to decipher whether the skewed distribution of produce consumption is a result of regional cultural differences, access and availability issues, taste preferences, or a combination of all of these factors.
Considering that fruits and vegetables are a key part of a balanced, nutritional diet, however, reveals a sense of urgency in curbing the prevalence of food deserts in the U.S.’s vast interior. In producing and distributing its map, the CDC has taken an important first step in spreading awareness in hopes that action will follow.