Despite fruits' and vegetables' firm place in a healthy diet — and certainly in a diet for weight loss — Americans just aren't eating enough produce each day.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the majority of Americans aren't getting enough fruits or vegetables into their diet on a daily basis.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that people eat three to five servings of vegetables daily, and two to four servings of fruit daily. But the CDC data show not only that just a small minority of Americans are eating the recommended amount, but also that many Americans aren't eating fruits or vegetables even one time each day.
People in Arkansas fared the worst for eating even a minimal amount fruit, with about half (50.5 percent) reporting that they eat fruit less often than once per day.
For comparison, Californians appear to be the least likely to skimp on fruit. Only 30.4 percent of people in the Golden State eat fruit less often than once per day.
Americans are doing a slightly better job of at least occasionally eating vegetables. People in Louisiana were most likely to eat vegetables only minimally, with 32.7 percent reporting they eat vegetables less often than once per day.
Oregonians, on the other hand, were the most likely to eat at least some vegetables, with only 16.3 percent eating vegetables less often than once per day.
This map shows the percentage of people in each state who eat vegetables less often than once per day. (A higher percentage means generally lower rates of vegetable consumption.)
This map shows the percentage of people in each state who eat fruit less often than once per day. (A higher percentage means generally lower rates of fruit consumption.)
This article is part of a Live Science Special Report on the Science of Weight Loss.