Poll finds that most Kentucky adults have access to healthy foods, but most also don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables daily

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Most Kentucky adults don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables every day, even though most of them say they have easy access to them, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll.

“Too many Kentuckians still aren’t getting their ‘apple a day’,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, co-sponsor of the survey. “Federal guidelines say that half the food we eat each day should be fruits and vegetables, but only about one in 10 Kentuckians gets enough vegetables, and only a quarter of us get enough fruits.”

The poll, taken Sept. 11 through Oct. 19, found that 42 percent of Kentucky adults don’t get enough fruits and vegetables each day. and only 21 percent said they got enough of both.

Yet, 80 percent of those polled said it was easy to buy healthy foods, like whole grains, low-fat options and fresh fruits and vegetables. This number was 87 percent among those with higher incomes, 74 percent among those with lower incomes.

Lower-income people tend to have poorer health status, and the poll found that those who reported health status were more likely to say the cost of healthy food is too high: six in in 10, compared to about three in 10 of those who reported good, very good or excellent health.

“Cost is a barrier, but it’s not the only obstacle to healthier eating,” Chandler said. “The foundation is funding demonstration projects to provide education and enact healthy school-food policies in six communities statewide to help children establish better eating habits, and we’re sharing what we’re learning as part of our effort to change these statistics.”

These numbers were largely unchanged from 2013, the last time the poll asked these questions. It is conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati for the foundation and Interact for Health, a Cincinnati-area foundation. It surveyed a random sample of 1,580 adults via landlines and cell phones and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. Error margins for the smaller subsamples are larger.

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