Socioeconomic gradient in consumption of whole fruit and 100% fruit juice among US children and adults

Adam Drewnowski, PhD and Colin Rehm, PhD
Nutrition Journal. January 2015; 14(3): 1-9.

Total fruit consumption falls far short of national goals, in fact, more than 85% of the population is not meeting recommended amounts. This study conducted at the University of Washington revealed that children and adolescents consumed less than one-half of a cup of 100% juice per day, (well below the Academy of Pediatrics 4-6 ounce serving size), whereas older adults consumed less than one-third of a cup.

It also found that general fruit consumption patterns show whole fruit provides about 65% (2/3’rds) of total fruit while 100% juice provides about 35% (1/3). Consumption patterns for whole fruit followed a socio-economic gradient among adults that was tied to education and income levels but this was not apparent for 100% juice consumption. Specifically, researchers found the people least likely to consume whole fruit were adults with low-incomes. With regard to race/ethnicity, non-Hispanic blacks were least likely to consume whole fruit. Both groups made up the fruit consumption shortfall with 100% juice.

Key Findings: Fruit juice is not overconsumed, does not displace fruit in the diet and falls into a pattern of two parts whole fruit, one part juice. Whole fruit is influenced by socioeconomics and this may pose challenges for the economically disadvantaged and some minority groups, whose fruit consumption falls short of national goals. For those segments of the population who are unable to afford whole fresh fruit, 100% fruit juice
offers a convenient, affordable and nutrient-dense option that can help them meet recommended dietary goals and fill in the gaps.

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