Current Food Practices

Native American diets and food practices have possibly changed more than any other ethnic group in the United States. Although the current diet of Native Americans may vary by tribe, and by personal traits such as age (e.g., young versus old), it closely resembles that of the U.S. white population. Their diet, however, is poorer in quality than that of the general U.S. population. A recent study found that only 10 percent of Native Americans have a healthful diet, while 90 percent have a poor quality that needs improvement. The majority of Native Americans have diets that are too high in fat (62%). Only 21 percent eat the recommended amount of fruit on any given day, while 34 percent eat the recommended amount of vegetables, 24 percent eat the recommended amount of grains, and 27 percent consume the recommended amount of dairy products. Native Americans are also four times more likely to report not having enough to eat than other U.S. households.

The frybread taco is a relatively recent addition to Native American fare. It requires white wheat flour, which came to the New World with Europeans. [Photograph by Catherine Karnow. Corbis. Reproduced by permission.]
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