The National Cancer institute of Bethesda, Maryland, has measured the fruit and vegetable intakes of children and adolescents in the United States, and come up with a disheartening result.
The study was designed to identify the ways in which fruits and vegetables are consumed by children, to provide estimates of their intakes compared with recommendations, and to estimate the percentage of children meeting those recommendations. It analyzed fruit and vegetable consumption in 3148 children and adolescents aged 2 to 18 years in the 48 continental United States. All fruit and vegetable ingredients were assigned specific weights to correspond with a serving as defined by current dietary guidance materials; and the number of servings of each fruit and vegetable was tallied.
The results? Nearly one quarter of all vegetables consumed by children and adolescents were french fries. Their intakes of all fruits and of dark green and/or deep yellow vegetables were very low compared with recommendations. Only one in five children consumed five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
The study concluded that pediatricians should encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially dark green and deep yellow vegetables, by their patients.