Although children have been eating more fruit in recent years, they still may not be eating enough fruits and vegetables overall.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption per age group and tracked average intake.
Based on the newest data, most children needed to increase both fruit and vegetable consumption to meet the guidelines.
The new report was written by Sonia Kim, PhD, of the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and colleagues.
The scientists studied the results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003 to 2010.
The survey tracked fruit and vegetable intake in children between 2 and 18 years old to determine dietary trends. Fruit and vegetable intake was measured in cup-equivalents per 1,000 calories, or CEPCs.
Total fruit intake among children increased from 0.55 CEPC in 2003 to 0.62 in 2010. During the same period, fruit juice (which the researchers considered a different category) consumption decreased.
Total vegetable intake did not change significantly (0.54 to 0.53 CEPC).
The CDC noted a target intake of 1.1 CPECs of vegetables and 0.9 CPECs of fruits.
No subgroups of the children or adolescents met the vegetable target, and only kids between 2 and 5 years old met the fruit target.
The researchers wrote that eating more fruits and vegetables adds needed nutrients, reduces risk of death and illness and helps manage body weight.
“Continued efforts are needed to increase children's fruit and vegetable consumption,” the study authors wrote. “Expert bodies have identified parents, schools, early care and education providers, community and business leaders, and state and local officials as stakeholders who might affect the nutrition environments of children.”
The CDC published the study online Aug. 5. The study authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.