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CDC shows kids are eating more fruits and vegetables-but are they the right kind?

Posted on Aug 25, 2014 by Maggie LaBarbera

A new study just released by the CDC* show that children are still not getting enough fruits and vegetables but are moving in the right direction.

  • More children aged 2–5 years ate  fruit than teenagers aged 12–19 years.
  • Less of a differences in ages of children who ate vegetable.
  • Slightly more children aged 2–5 years ate dark green and starchy vegetables (potatoes) compared to teenagers.
  • More teenagers than children aged 2–5 years ate other vegetables (red and orange vegetables and other vegetables category)

These results show that a high percentage of kids do eat at least some fruits and vegetables on a given day. However, about one-quarter of children did not consume any fruit on a given day. Less than 10% of children did not consume any vegetables on a given day.

Vegetable Consumption for children 2-19 years old:

Almost 92% of youth aged 2–19 years consumed any vegetables on a given day in 2009–2010. More than 11% consumed dark green vegetables, 75.1% consumed red and/or orange vegetables, 53.0% consumed starchy vegetables, and 60.1% consumed other vegetables.

Dark green leafy vegetables are so important for a healthy diet.  This is an area that really needs improvement with children and families.  Counting a potato alone as getting their vegetable intake is not enough.  Children need all four types of vegetables for a well balanced diet.

Vegetable definitions*:

Dark green vegetables include arugula, basil, beet greens, bitter melon leaves, broccoli, Chinese cabbage (pak choi), chrysanthemum garland, chard, cilantro, collards, cress, dandelion greens, kale, lambsquarters, lettuce (Boston, butterhead, cos, romaine, green leaf, and red leaf), mustard cabbage, mustard greens, parsley, poke greens, recaito (Puerto Rican little coriander), spinach, turnip greens, and watercress

Red and orange vegetables include calabazas (Spanish pumpkin), carrots, red chili peppers, red or orange bell peppers, pimentos, pumpkins, squash (most winter types), sweet potatoes, and tomatoes

Starchy vegetables include breadfruit, burdock, cassava (yuca blanca), corn, lima beans, immature peas (e.g., cowpeas, black-eyed peas, green peas, and pigeon peas), jicama or yambeans, plantain, poi, white potatoes, salsify, tapioca, taro, water chestnuts, and yams

Other vegetables include artichokes, asparagus, avocados, bamboo shoots, beans (green and string), bean sprouts, beets, bitter melons (bitter gourd and balsam pear), broccoflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage (green, red, and savoy), cactus (nopales), cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chayote or christophine, chives, cucumber, eggplant, fennel bulb, garlic, ginger root, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce (iceberg and others not included under dark green category), luffa (Chinese okra), mushrooms, okra, olives, onions, peppers (chili and bell types that are not red or orange in color), radicchio, sprouted beans (e.g., sprouted mung beans), radishes, rutabagas, squash (summer), snow peas, tomatillos, turnips, and winter melons (5).


Fruit Consumption for children 2-19 years old:
  • 77.1% consumed any fruit on a given day
  • 29.7% consumed citrus, melon, and/or berries
  • 50.4% consumed other fruit, and 53.0% drank fruit juice
Fruit juice is high in sugar.  More work needs to be done to reduce fruit juice to one 6-oz glass a day.  Many parents still think fruit juice is a great way for kids to get their fruit intake.



9 out of 10 consumed vegetables.











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