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Children's Health

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Most Kids Eat Fruit, Veggies Daily: CDC

Survey finds 3 out of 4 are getting these healthy foods each day

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Kathleen Doheny

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- More than three-quarters of U.S. children eat fruit on any given day, and nearly 92 percent dig into vegetables in a 24-hour period, a new U.S. health survey reveals.

But consumption of fruits and vegetables -- sources of valuable nutrients -- declines as kids move from preschool to high school, according to the survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And whether kids' vegetable and fruit consumption meets the Dietary Guidelines for Americans wasn't addressed in the report, said study researcher Samara Joy Nielsen, a nutritional epidemiologist with the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

"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.

Taveras was surprised that vegetable consumption was higher than fruit intake. "I would take that with a little grain of salt," she said.

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