Estimates of fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption vary depending on intake definition, which may be determined by research purpose. Researchers have used two methods to evaluate intake: epidemiological and behavioural. The present study describes FV intake by adults using epidemiological v. behavioural approaches.
One-day dietary intake data from What We Eat In America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2012 were used. Sample weights were used to produce nationally representative estimates. FV intake (in cup-equivalents (CE)) was estimated using the Food Patterns Equivalents Database. The epidemiological method considered all FV after disaggregating foods and beverages. The behavioural method included foods that provided at least 0·2 CE FV per 100 g, and excluded sources high in fat, added sugar and Na.
Nationally representative survey of the US population.
Adults (n 10 563) aged ≥20 years.
For epidemiological v. behavioural, fruit intake was 1·1 v. 1·0 CE for males and 1·0 v. 0·9 CE for females. Vegetable intake was 1·8 v. 1·1 CE for males and 1·5 v. 1·0 CE for females.
The definition of FV intake affects estimates of consumption by the population and is an important consideration when planning and comparing research studies. The method used should align with research goals to assure accurate interpretation and validity of results.
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