24 September 2010

Fruit and vegetable consumption on upswing for young children, decrease for teens

A study conducted by the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) has revealed some positive—and negative—trends in vegetable and fruit consumption in children.

According to the research, children under the age of 6 ate fruits at an 11 percent higher rate in 2009 than they did in 2004 while children between the ages of 6 and 12 also increased fruit consumption by 7 percent during the same time period.

Although not as significant yet still somewhat positive, vegetable consumption in children under the age of 6 increased by 3 percent whereas 6-12 year olds increased their veggie eating by 2 percent.

Now the bad news, teens have decreased both fruit (2 percent) and vegetable (6 percent) consumption since 2004. Apparently they haven’t seen that new hip baby carrot ad campaign.

"As president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), I'm pleased to see that at least our younger children are consuming more fruits and vegetables," said Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D. "However, the decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption as children move into their teen years is troublesome. Is it because fruits and vegetables aren't available at school, or because it isn't 'cool' to eat them anymore, thanks to extensive marketing of less nutritious foods, or a combination of these factors and others?  Regardless, we still have a long way to go to get consumption up to recommended levels. We applaud the efforts of parents and policy makers that have helped increase consumption among younger children; we simply encourage them to do more of it."

The same study showed that adults have slightly decreased their fruit consumption while vegetables are eaten at about the same rate—which isn’t very much.

Who knows, maybe if adults actually ate more veggies and fruits their children would as well. It’s so crazy it might just work.

Eric Fortney | @elfortney
Eric is the co-founder & executive editor of This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his TDIV work, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/daguerreo_type