Sources of Food Group Intakes among the U.S. Population, 2003-04


The purpose of this research was to identify the contributions of specific foods and subgroups to food group intakes among the U.S. population.

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We used the 2003-04 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to determine the weighted population contribution of each subgroup to its MyPyramid food group and the contribution of specific foods to intakes of whole fruit, fruit juice, dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, legumes, starchy vegetables, other vegetables, whole grains, non-whole grains, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, soy, nuts, seeds, milk, cheese, oils, solid fats, and added sugars.

The dietary intake data collected in the survey were catalogued according to discrete food codes. For this analysis, food codes representing similar foods -- such as the various types of pasta dishes -- were combined to provide an indication of the contribution of distinct food items to intake of the dietary components being studied. That is, the food codes were sorted into 96 mutually exclusive food categories, termed specific foods.

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Key Findings

Children and adolescents do not consume fruits, vegetables, and grains in the proportions that are recommended. They eat more fruit juice, starchy vegetables, other vegetables, and non-whole grains -- and less whole fruit, dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, legumes and whole grains -- than recommended.

Americans do not, in general, consume the most nutrient-dense forms of basic foods groups, instead consuming foods that are high in solid fats and added sugars. The main culprits are soda and other sugar sweetened beverages, pizza, grain-based desserts, non-skim dairy products, and fatty meats.

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Suggested Citation

Suggested citation for information contained on this page:

Sources of Food Group Intakes among the U.S. Population, 2003-04. Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program website. National Cancer Institute. Updated April 20, 2018. Accessed October 20, 2019.

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