Fruit and vegetable intake still too low; human nutritionist says to focus on lunch

August 20, 2014 by Lindsey Elliott

Changes to a supplemental nutrition program are improving the number of fruits eaten daily by children, but kids and adults still aren't reaching the recommended daily intake amounts. A Kansas State University human nutritionist says to reach that amount, you need to focus on lunch.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that children between the ages of 2 and 18 are eating more whole fruits and drinking less , while vegetable intake remains the same. Sandy Procter, assistant professor of human nutrition and coordinator of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program in the university's College of Human Ecology, says the switch from juice to whole fruit is a big improvement.

"This is a really positive sign for that age group because that' s where we were seeing a lot of concern with overconsumption of fruit juice," Procter said. "There has been a real concerted effort to get the message out to well-meaning parents and caregivers that even though 100 percent fruit juice is very nutritious, it is very high in calories. When it is over-served to young children, it can cause diarrhea and contribute to obesity."

Procter attributes the fruit intake improvements to changes made to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC. In 2007 on a trial basis, the WIC program began allowing the purchase of fresh fruits and and decreasing the amount of money available for fruit juice. The changes went into effect for all on the program in January 2014.

Despite the improvement, most children and adults are not getting enough fruits and vegetables. According to the 2013 State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the average American eats one serving of fruit and 1.3 servings of vegetables per day. In Kansas, the percent of people who reported consuming fruit less than one time a day is 41 percent. For vegetables, 22 percent reported eating less than one serving of vegetables a day, with French fries included as a vegetable option.

"We talk about five servings a day being pretty easy to accomplish and while it may be easy, we are not getting there," Procter said. "I think as parents are preparing for back to school, it's important to realize that it's fairly simple to accomplish—you just have to plan ahead."

Procter emphasizes lunch as the most important meal for fruit and vegetable consumption and says that if these nutritious components aren't included in lunch, it is very hard to reach the recommended five servings a day of . She also says improving dietary patterns in will lead to healthier food habits later in life.

Explore further: Five daily portions of fruit and vegetables may be enough to lower risk of death

More information: "Vital Signs: Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among Children—United States, 2003–2010." Sonia A. Kim, PhD, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrh … htm?s_cid=mm6331a3_w

Related Stories

Five daily portions of fruit and vegetables may be enough to lower risk of death

July 30, 2014
These results conflict with a recent study published in BMJ's Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggesting that seven or more daily portions of fruits and vegetables were linked to lowest risk of death.

Most kids eat fruit, veggies daily: CDC

July 16, 2014
(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.

New research reveals most adults need to double fruit and vegetable intake

August 11, 2014
New research published in the September issue of the British Journal of Nutrition and featured in the just released Global Phytonutrient Report highlights a significant shortfall in fruit and vegetable consumption in people's ...

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 ...

Fruits, veggies not a magic bullet for weight loss, study finds

June 25, 2014
(HealthDay)—Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is often recommended as a way to lose weight, but doing so may not help you shed excess pounds, according to researchers.

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

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.