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BMC Public Health

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Rural health, Fruit in human nutrition, Vegetables in human nutrition, Health risk assessment, Nutrition


Background: Rural residents are increasingly identified as being at greater risk for health disparities. These inequities may be related to health behaviors such as adequate fruits and vegetable consumption. There is little national-level population-based research about the prevalence of fruit and vegetable consumption by US rural population adults. The objective of this study was to examine the prevalence differences between US rural and non-rural adults in consuming at least five daily servings of combined fruits and vegetables.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of weighted 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) data using bivariate and multivariate techniques. 52,259,789 US adults were identified as consuming at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables of which 8,983,840 were identified as living in rural locales.

Results: Bivariate analysis revealed that in comparison to non-rural US adults, rural adults were less likely to consume five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables (OR = 1.161, 95% CI 1.160-1.162). Logistic regression analysis revealed that US rural adults consuming at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables were more likely to be female, non-Caucasian, married or living with a partner, living in a household without children, living in a household whose annual income was>$35,000, and getting at least moderate physical activity. They were also more likely to have a BMI of

Conclusions: This enhanced understanding of fruit and vegetable consumption should prove useful to those seeking to lessen the disparity or inequity between rural and non-rural adults. Additionally, those responsible for health-related planning could benefit from the knowledge of how their state ranks in comparison to others vis-à-vis the consumption of fruits and vegetables by rural adults—a population increasingly being identified as one at risk for health disparities.


At the time of writing, Dr. Lipsky was affiliated with University of Illinois-Chicago College of Medicine at Rockford.

© 2012 Lutfiyya et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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