While more than three-quarters of U.S. children eat fruit on any given day and over 92 percent eat vegetables, research has shown that consumption of fruits and veges declines in teen years.
As children move from preschool to high school, the consumption of fruits and vegetables and their valuable nutrients declines, according to a survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to study researcher Samara Joy Nielsen, a nutritional epidemiologist with the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the question of whether or not the vegetable anf fruit consumption meets the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was not addressed in the report.
“We weren’t looking at how much was being consumed, we were looking at whether they were consuming,” Nielsen said.
The dietary guidelines recommend that kids eat at least one cup each of fruit and vegetables 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 children 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.