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Fruit and Vegetable Consumption - Ages 65+
Fruit and Vegetable Consumption - Ages 65+ in Arkansas

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Percentage of adults ages 65 and older who reported consuming two or more fruits and three or more vegetables daily

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Fruit and Vegetable Consumption - Ages 65+ by State

Percentage of adults ages 65 and older who reported consuming two or more fruits and three or more vegetables daily

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption - Ages 65+ Trends

Percentage of adults ages 65 and older who reported consuming two or more fruits and three or more vegetables daily

Trend: Fruit and Vegetable Consumption - Ages 65+ in Arkansas, United States, 2023 Senior Report

Percentage of adults ages 65 and older who reported consuming two or more fruits and three or more vegetables daily

United States

 CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

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About Fruit and Vegetable Consumption - Ages 65+

US Value: 7.3%

Top State(s): Vermont: 13.3%

Bottom State(s): Oklahoma: 3.0%

Definition: Percentage of adults ages 65 and older who reported consuming two or more fruits and three or more vegetables daily

Data Source and Years: CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2021

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United Health Foundation,, accessed 2023.

Eating more fruits and vegetables can contribute to a healthy diet and help older adults meet nutrient recommendations. Consuming whole fruits and vegetables daily can reduce the risk of early mortality, disability, digestive disorders and chronic diseases, such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis and stroke in older adults. High fruit and vegetable consumption helps protect against cognitive decline and is linked to higher quality of life, longer physical functioning and higher bone density among older adults. 

Fruits and vegetables tend to be low in calories and high in nutrients and fiber. Blueberries, apples, cherries, grapes, butternut squash, asparagus, broccoli and kale are particularly high in nutrients, vitamins and minerals that support healthy aging.

Barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption include accessibility — a major issue for older adults who live in areas identified as food deserts — and difficulty preparing and chewing fruits and vegetables.

The prevalence of fruit and vegetable consumption is higher among:

  • Older women compared with older men.
  • Older adults with a college education compared with those with less education.
  • Older adults with an annual household income of $50,000 or more compared with those with an income of less than $49,999.
  • Older adults living in metropolitan areas compared with those living in non-metropolitan areas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers strategies to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables, including:

  • Developing more farm-to-institution food services that provide locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables to workplaces, hospitals, cafeterias, faith-based organizations and other venues.
  • Expanding new and existing farmers’ markets for direct access to seasonal fruits and vegetables.
  • Improving the selection of foods available at local grocery stores.
  • Partnering with organizations that deliver produce or full meals to seniors, such as Meals on Wheels. Meal delivery programs have been shown to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for older adults in senior centers.
  • Encouraging older adults to keep readily available raw fruits and vegetables on hand. 
  • Offering nutrition education via cooking workshops for older adults.

Brewer, Dawn, Emily Dickens, Alyson Humphrey, and Tammy Stephenson. “Increased Fruit and Vegetable Intake among Older Adults Participating in Kentucky’s Congregate Meal Site Program.” Educational Gerontology 42, no. 11 (November 2016): 771–84.

Brodeur, Jean-Marc, Danielle Laurin, Roland Vallee, and Diane Lachapelle. “Nutrient Intake and Gastrointestinal Disorders Related to Masticatory Performance in the Edentulous Elderly.” The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry 70, no. 5 (November 1993): 468–73.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Strategies to Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases: The CDC Guide to Strategies to Increase the Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables.” Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011.

Drewnowski, Adam, and William J. Evans. “Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life in Older Adults: Summary.” The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 56, Supplement 2 (October 1, 2001): 89–94.

Dutko, Paula, Michele Ver Ploeg, and Tracey Farrigan. “Characteristics and Influential Factors of Food Deserts.” Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, August 2012.

Ellingsen, I., E. M. Hjerkinn, I. Seljeflot, H. Arnesen, and S. Tonstad. “Consumption of Fruit and Berries Is Inversely Associated with Carotid Atherosclerosis in Elderly Men.” British Journal of Nutrition 99, no. 3 (March 2008): 674–81.

Genkinger, Jeanine M., Elizabeth A. Platz, Sandra C. Hoffman, George W. Comstock, and Kathy J. Helzlsouer. “Fruit, Vegetable, and Antioxidant Intake and All-Cause, Cancer, and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality in a Community-Dwelling Population in Washington County, Maryland.” American Journal of Epidemiology 160, no. 12 (December 15, 2004): 1223–33.

Hung, Hsin-Chia, Kaumudi J. Joshipura, Rui Jiang, Frank B. Hu, David Hunter, Stephanie A. Smith-Warner, Graham A. Colditz, Bernard Rosner, Donna Spiegelman, and Walter C. Willett. “Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Risk of Major Chronic Disease.” JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute 96, no. 21 (November 3, 2004): 1577–84.

Joshipura, Kaumudi J., Alberto Ascherio, JoAnn E. Manson, Meir J. Stampfer, Eric B. Rimm, Frank E. Speizer, Charles H. Hennekens, Donna Spiegelman, and Walter C. Willett. “Fruit and Vegetable Intake in Relation to Risk of Ischemic Stroke.” JAMA 282, no. 13 (October 6, 1999): 1233–39.

Liu, Simin, I-Min Lee, Umed Ajani, Stephen R. Cole, Julie E. Buring, and JoAnn E. Manson. “Intake of Vegetables Rich in Carotenoids and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Men: The Physicians’ Health Study.” International Journal of Epidemiology 30, no. 1 (February 2001): 130–35.

Lloyd, Jean L. “Hunger in Older Adults: Challenges and Opportunities for the Aging Services Network.” Meals on Wheels America, February 2017.

Moreau, Mireille, Hugues Plourde, Mary Hendrickson-Nelson, and Joanne Martin. “Efficacy of Nutrition Education-Based Cooking Workshops in Community-Dwelling Adults Aged 50 Years and Older.” Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics 34, no. 4 (October 2, 2015): 369–87.

Nicklett, Emily J., and Andria R. Kadell. “Fruit and Vegetable Intake among Older Adults: A Scoping Review.” Maturitas 75, no. 4 (August 1, 2013): 305–12.

Polidori, M. Cristina, Domenico Praticó, Francesca Mangialasche, Elena Mariani, Olivier Aust, Timur Anlasik, Ni Mang, et al. “High Fruit and Vegetable Intake Is Positively Correlated with Antioxidant Status and Cognitive Performance in Healthy Subjects.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 17, no. 4 (July 23, 2009): 921–27.

Semba, Richard D., Fulvio Lauretani, and Luigi Ferrucci. “Carotenoids as Protection against Sarcopenia in Older Adults.” Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 458, no. 2 (February 2007): 141–45.

Tucker, Katherine L., Honglei Chen, Marian T. Hannan, L. Adrienne Cupples, Peter W. F. Wilson, David Felson, and Douglas P. Kiel. “Bone Mineral Density and Dietary Patterns in Older Adults: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 76, no. 1 (July 1, 2002): 245–52.

Wang, Lu, JoAnn E. Manson, J. Michael Gaziano, Julie E. Buring, and Howard D. Sesso. “Fruit and Vegetable Intake and the Risk of Hypertension in Middle-Aged and Older Women.” American Journal of Hypertension 25, no. 2 (February 1, 2012): 180–89.

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