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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: What We Eat in America - Dietary Survey: Data Collection, Interpretation, Dissemination, and Methodology

Location: Food Surveys

Title: Vital Signs: Fruit and vegetable intake among children - United States, 2003-2010

Authors
item Kim, Sonia -
item Moore, Latetia -
item Galuska, Deborah -
item Wright, Ashton -
item Harris, Diane -
item Grummer-Strawn, Laurence -
item Merlo, Caitlin -
item Nihiser, Allison -
item Rhodes, Donna

Submitted to: Electronic Publication
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 25, 2014
Publication Date: August 8, 2014
Citation: Kim, S.A., Moore, L.V., Galuska, D., Wright, A.P., Harris, D., Grummer-Strawn, L.M., Merlo, C.L., Nihiser, A.J., Rhodes, D.G. 2014. Vital Signs: Fruit and vegetable intake among children - United States, 2003-2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 63:671-676. Available: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6331a3.htm?s_cid=mm6331a3_e.

Interpretive Summary: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend Americans 2 years and older increase their intake of fruits and vegetables, as part of a healthy diet. Because dietary patterns in childhood my influence food patterns later in life, encouraging children to incorporate more fruits and vegetable into their diets is a public health priority. There has been some evidence of increases in fruit intake among children over the last decade, but trends in the contribution of various types of fruits and vegetables to children’s diets by demographic characteristics have not been reported. This report describes trends in the contribution of fruits and vegetables to children’s diets from 2003-04 through 2009-10 overall and by demographic characteristics, using data from What We Eat in America, National Health and Nutrition Examination survey. Children’s total fruit intake has increased, driven by increases in whole fruit, but total vegetable intake remains unchanged. Increased opportunities for children to learn about and eat fruits and vegetables in the places where they live, learn, and play can help ensure that this upward trend in fruit intake continues and that progress can be made in vegetable intake.

Technical Abstract: Most Americans do not consume nearly enough fruits and vegetables. Increasing the contribution of fruits and vegetables to Americans’ diets may add under-consumed nutrients, reduce the risk of leading causes of illness and death, and help with weight management. Encouraging children to consume adequate amounts may support lifelong healthy dietary habits. This report describes recent trends in the contribution of fruits and vegetables to children’s diets. CDC analyzed National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data from 2003-2010 to estimate trends in mean intake of fruits and vegetables among children aged 2-18 years. Mean intake was measured in cup equivalents per 1,000 calories (CEC) and stratified by sex, age, race/ethnicity, poverty-to-income ratio, and obesity status. Total fruit intake among children increased due to significant increases in whole fruit intake from 0.24 CEC in 2003-04 to 0.40 CEC in 2009-10. Children 2-5 years had higher total fruit intake than older children (0.97 CEC in 2009-10 versus 0.61 and 0.46 in children 6-11 and 12-18 years, respectively). Total vegetable intake did not change (0.54 in 2003-04; 0.53 CEC in 2009-10). No socio-demographic group met the Healthy People 2020 vegetable target and only children 2-5 years met the fruit target. Children’s fruit intake has increased, driven by increases in whole fruit, but vegetable intake remains unchanged. Increased opportunities for youth to learn about and eat fruits and vegetables in multiple settings, including schools and early care and education centers, may contribute to reaching national goals.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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