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New data shows children under age 12 have been eating more fruits and vegetables since 2004.
Children under the age of 6 increased their fruit consumption by 11 percent from 2004 through 2009, while consumption for ages 6 to 12 increased by 7 percent. The vegetable trend was slightly less positive, but still an improvement, with children under the age of six consuming 3 percent more vegetables over the last 5 years and 6 to 12 year-olds consuming 2 percent more.
Teen consumption of fruit and vegetables is on the decline, however, with a 6 percent decrease in vegetable consumption and a 2 percent decrease in fruit consumption since 2004.
“I’m pleased to see that at least our younger children are consuming more fruits and vegetables,” said Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., president and CEO of the Produce for Better Health Foundation. “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.”
This new data was obtained from research commissioned by PBH and conducted by NPD Foodworld Group Research. Details about findings and methodology are found here.
Produce for Better Health Foundation is a nonprofit education foundation working to motivate people to eat more fruits and vegetables to improve public health. To learn more, visit www.pbhfoundation.org and www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.