A study conducted by the Alliance for Potato Research and Education and presented at Experimental Biology 2015 shows that vegetable consumption is very low among women of childbearing age (WCBA), and that the white potato is an important vegetable to this population's diet, particularly among subgroups with the lowest intake.
The researchers examined total vegetable and white potato (WP) consumption of WCBA, using the most recent data available from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the Food Pyramid Equivalents Database 2009–2010 and 2011–2012. The study authors found that, on average, WCBA consumed 1.33 cup equivalents of total vegetables. Depending on physical activity levels, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2.5–3 cups of vegetables a day for WCBA needing 1,800–2,400 calories per day; this recommendation includes 5–6 cups of starchy vegetables a week.
Non-Hispanic white women, Hispanic women, and women of other races consumed an average of 1.39, 1.43, and 1.46 cup equivalents of vegetables, respectively. On average, non-Hispanic blacks consumed 1.11 cup equivalents of vegetables—significantly fewer than women of all other races. WCBA consumed about 0.31 cup equivalents of WP. According to the data, white potato consumption is low for WCBA—about 2 cups a week, on average, or about 0.3 cups equivalents per day.
The researchers noted that the mean intakes of key nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D, iron, and folates are lower than current recommendations for women aged 19–50 years. Average intakes of potassium and dietary fiber are about half of the recommended intakes, while mean vitamin D intake is less than 30% of the recommendation. The study also shows that non-Hispanic black WCBA have significantly lower intake of key nutrients of concern such as potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D. White potatoes offer a rich source of essential nutrients, such as potassium and dietary fiber.