Potatoes & Public Health


Potatoes provide a great-tasting, affordable nutrient package that enables people to meet their goals for nutrient intake and for vegetable consumption. Contrary to popular belief, while potatoes are the most consumed vegetable, they aren’t over-consumed in the United States.

Potatoes are the third most important food crop in the world after rice and wheat and the leading vegetable crop in the United States (1). More than a billion people worldwide eat potatoes and global total crop production exceeds 300 million metric tons. Potatoes are grown in an estimated 125 countries throughout the world – from China’s Yunnan plateau and the subtropical lowlands of India to Java’s equatorial highlands and the steppes of the Ukraine (1).

  • According to What We Eat: NHANES 2009-2010, Americans ages 2 and older eat a daily average of 0.35 potatoes (2).
  • According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the average Canadian eats 71 kilograms of potatoes a year (3). This translates to 0.43 pounds of potatoes per person per day, which is the equivalent of about a medium potato a day.
  • Potatoes are a pathway to increased vegetable consumption: consumers of white potatoes, on average, consume significantly more potassium and eat more vegetables than non-consumers. Read Healthy Dietary Patterns for more information.


  1. International Potato Center. Potato facts and figures. http://cipotato.org/potato/facts/ Accessed July 21, 2016.
  2. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2009-2010, individuals 2 years and over (excluding breast-fed children), day 1 dietary intake data, weighted. Food Patterns Equivalents Database (FPED) 2009-2010.
  3. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Check out potatoes! http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/science-and-innovation/check-out-agriculture/check-out-potatoes/?id=1308687658080. Accessed March 29, 2017.
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