A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Most Lexington adults physically active, but not getting enough fruits and vegetables, poll shows

About eight in 10 adults in the Greater Lexington area are physically active, which puts them on par with state average, but only 24 percent eat the recommended amount of both fruits and vegetables, according to a Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) special report on the region.

KHIP is funded jointly by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Cincinnati-based Interact for Health. The findings have been divided into five regional reports (Eastern Kentucky, Greater Lexington, Greater Louisville, Northern Kentucky, and Western Kentucky), available online at www.healthy-ky.org.

According to the Greater Lexington report, 82 percent of adults from this 17-county region say it’s easy in their neighborhoods to purchase healthy foods – such as whole-grain items, low-fat options and fruits and vegetables – about the same as the proportion who say that from the entire state.

The federal guidelines suggest that half of each plate be made up of vegetables and fruits. Yet just 15 percent of area adults meet the vegetable guideline, and only 18 percent get enough fruit.

Those rates vary slightly from the state as a whole: 12 percent of Kentuckians overall meet the vegetable recommendation and 25 percent get enough fruits.

When asked about their level of physical activity, 81 percent of Greater Lexington area adults said they were very or somewhat physically active, about the same as the state average of 79 percent.

Adults from Greater Lexington rated both the condition of their sidewalks and road shoulders, and the safety of their neighborhoods for walking or biking, significantly higher than the state as a whole. For example, 88 percent of adults in the region said their neighborhoods were somewhat or very safe for exercise, compared to 81 percent of adults statewide.

And 69 percent of area residents rated the condition of their sidewalks and shoulders as good or better, while 51 percent of Kentuckians on average rated such areas that highly.

“Kentucky is facing a serious obesity issue, and part of the answer is enacting policies that ensure healthier choices are readily available, easy to find and priced comparably to unhealthy choices,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “Some counties in this region have an obesity rate as high as 44 percent.

“Access to fresh, healthy foods at affordable prices, and safe, well-maintained places to exercise can help area residents adopt new habits that will significantly improve their health and reduce health care costs.”

KHIP was conducted Sept. 11, 2016, through Oct. 19, 2016, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 1,580 adults from throughout Kentucky was interviewed by telephone, including landlines and cell phones.

The poll has a margin of error of ±2.5 percent (Greater Lexington ±5.6 percent). The survey instrument and data tables are found here. The codebooks and data files are available here.

From Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky

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