Kids, Teens Don't Eat Enough Fruit And Vegetable

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Children and adolescents aren't meeting guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption, according to researchers at Ohio State University.

The researchers analyzed results of the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to assess the amounts of fruits and vegetables consumed by children and adolescents compared to Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations, and to identify factors related to low fruit and vegetable consumption.

In a study of more than 6,500 children ages 2 to 18, the researchers found those not meeting recommendations tended to be male, older and living in households making between 130 percent and 350 percent of the federal poverty level.

The researchers found 2-to-5 year-olds consumed significantly more fruit and juice than children ages 6 to 11 and 12 to 18 year olds. Total vegetable consumption was significantly higher among 12-to-18 year-olds. However, only 8 percent of vegetables consumed by children in all groups were dark green or orange; fried potatoes constituted about 46 percent of total vegetable consumption.

The study also found fruit consumption differed significantly among race, ethnicities and household income. Mexican Americans consumed significantly more fruit than non-Hispanic white children and adolescents. In addition, non-Hispanic black children and adolescents consumed significantly more dark-green vegetables and fewer deep-yellow vegetables than Mexican American and non-Hispanic white children and adolescents.

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The researchers concluded: "These children and adolescents should be targeted for nutritional interventions focusing on amounts and types of fruits and vegetables to consume. Nevertheless, there is a common need among American children and adolescents for nutritional interventions designed to increase daily fruit and vegetable consumption. When counseling children, adolescents and their parents/caregivers, dietitians need to address factors that may influence fruit and vegetable intake, such as gender, age, race/ethnicity and income."

Other studies published in the March 2009 Journal of the American Dietetic Association include:

* Effects of Food Form and Timing of Ingestion on Appetite and Energy Intake in Lean and Obese Young Adults

* Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Its Relation to Markers of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Adolescents

* Supplement Use Contributes to Meeting Recommended Dietary Intakes for Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin C in Four Ethnicities of Middle-Aged and Older Americans:

* The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

* Weight Bias among Dietetics Students: Implications for Treatment Practices.

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