Most kids eat fruit, veggies daily: CDC

July 16, 2014 by Kathleen Doheny, Healthday Reporter
Most kids eat fruit, veggies daily: CDC
Survey finds 3 out of 4 are getting these healthy foods each day.

(HealthDay)—More than three-quarters of U.S. children eat fruit on any given day, and nearly 92 percent dig into vegetables in a 24-hour period, a new U.S. health survey reveals.

But consumption of fruits and —sources of valuable nutrients—declines as kids move from preschool to high school, according to the survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And whether kids' vegetable and fruit consumption meets the Dietary Guidelines for Americans wasn't addressed in the report, said study researcher Samara Joy Nielsen, a nutritional epidemiologist with the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

"We weren't looking at how much was being consumed, we were looking at whether they were consuming," Nielsen said.

The recommend that kids eat at least one cup each of a day and a variety of both, Nielsen said. The amount needed increases with age and activity level.

For this report, the researchers used data on ages 2 to 19 from the 2009-10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which asked what people ate over 24 hours.

Ninety percent of children aged 2 to 5 years old ate fruit on any given day, while only six of 10 teens did, according to the report published July 16 in the NCHS Data Brief.

Younger children also ate more vegetables on a given day than teens, the survey found. More than 93 percent of children 2 to 11 ate vegetables on a given day, while veggie eating declined to 90 percent among kids 12 to 19 years old.

And French fries were included in that tally.

But, overall, the report seems to be good news, said Dr. Elsie Taveras, chief of general pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston, who was not involved in the study.

"It shows that over 75 percent of children 2 to 19 are consuming fruits and vegetables on a given day," she said.

Taveras was surprised that was higher than fruit intake. "I would take that with a little grain of salt," she said.

She said she suspected French fries boosted the rate of vegetable consumption.

Nielsen said about 50 to 60 percent of children ate starchy vegetables, including French fries, on a given day. However, she was pleased to see that about three-quarters of young people ate red and orange vegetables, such as carrots or bell peppers, on a given day.

The investigators found some differences among ethnic groups for fruits, but not for vegetables in general. On any given day, about 82 percent of black children ate fruit compared to three-quarters of whites.

One-fifth of black youths ate melon, citrus or berries in a 24-hour period, compared to one-third of whites and more than one-quarter of Hispanics, the findings revealed.

Taveras said looking at intake by income status would have provided additional valuable information. Lower-income families often have less access to fresh produce.

Another expert found the report encouraging. "While differences exist within age groups and ethnicity, the fact that kids consume produce is a good step," said Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis.

Parents can next encourage variety and greater intake, Diekman said.

Here are three ways to do that, said Taveras: Make all snacks fruits or vegetables. Include as part of every meal. And start these practices early to shape children's taste preferences.

Explore further: Majority of very young children in California eat fast food at least once a week

More information: For more about the benefits of fruits and vegetables, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Full Article
More Information

Related Stories

Majority of very young children in California eat fast food at least once a week

November 26, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—A surprisingly large percentage of very young children in California, including 70 percent of Latino children, eat fast food regularly, according to a new policy brief by the UCLA Center for Health Policy ...

Regular family meals together boost kids' fruit and vegetable intake

December 19, 2012
Regular family meals round a table boosts kids' fruit and vegetable intake, and make it easier for them to reach the recommended five portions a day, indicates research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and ...

Farmers markets inspire WIC moms, but grocery-store produce costs less

June 3, 2014
When participants in a local Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program received vouchers for fruits and vegetables at area farmers markets, they ate a greater variety of vegetables and more often chose fruits or vegetables ...

'Often and early' gives children a taste for vegetables

May 31, 2014
Exposing infants to a new vegetable early in life encourages them to eat more of it compared to offering novel vegetables to older children, new research from the University of Leeds suggests.

Offer kids whole grains; they'll eat them, study shows

June 24, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Many parents presume their children will shun whole grains because they think they don't like them, a University of Florida researcher says, but a new UF study may start to debunk that idea.

Recommended for you

Asthma drug tied to nightmares, depression

September 20, 2017
(HealthDay)—The asthma medication Singulair (montelukast) appears linked to neuropsychiatric side effects, such as depression, aggression, nightmares and headaches, according to a new review by Dutch researchers.

Parents not confident schools can assist child with chronic disease, mental health

September 18, 2017
If your child had an asthma attack during the school day, would school personnel know how to respond?

Premature infants may get metabolic boost from mom's breast milk

September 14, 2017
The breast milk of mothers with premature babies has different amounts of microRNA than that of mothers with babies born at term, which may help premature babies catch up in growth and development, according to researchers.

Explaining bursts of activity in brains of preterm babies

September 12, 2017
The source of spontaneous, high-amplitude bursts of activity seen in the brains of preterm babies, which are vital for healthy development, has been identified by a team led by researchers at UCL and King's College London.

Why one teenager may need more—or less—sleep than another

August 30, 2017
Sleep problems contribute to a number of mental health issues in adolescents, researchers say. But a lingering question is whether some teens need more—or less—sleep than others to be healthy and at their best.

Study shows probiotics can prevent sepsis in infants

August 17, 2017
A research team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health has determined that a special mixture of good bacteria in the body reduced the incidence of sepsis in infants in India by 40 percent at ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.