November 24, 2011
Teens Turning Down Fruits And Vegetables
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report yesterday highlighting the need for healthier school lunches. The report, based on data from the 2010 National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study (NYPANS), shows that one-third of high school students do not eat vegetables each day and more than 25 percent do not always have a daily serving of fruit.
“Our basic findings are that fruit and vegetable consumption among high school students is low,” said Sonia A. Kim, a CDC epidemiologist and one of the authors of the study. “There´s more that schools and communities can do to encourage consumption.”
The least amount of vegetables were consumed by Black and Hispanic children, according to the report, and overall, only 16.8 percent of teens ate fruit more than four times a day and even fewer, 11.2 percent, ate vegetables that often, David Beasley reports for Reuters.
The CDC maintains that fruits and vegetables reduce chronic diseases and some cancers and can help manage proper weight. The CDC advises adolescents who exercise less than 30 minutes a day to eat 1.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables daily for females and for males to eat two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables.
The lack of fruit and vegetable consumption by teens shows a need for effective strategies to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Policy and environmental approaches to provide greater access to and availability of fruits and vegetables are among the strategies that schools and communities might choose to achieve this goal.
The reasons why high school students do not eat enough fruits and vegetables was not explicitly examined, but it does recommend increasing the availability of healthier foods in schools. A CDC program called “Let´s Move Salad Bars to Schools,” has a goal of putting 6,000 salad bars in schools over the next three years.
“There is evidence that salad bars do increase fruit and vegetable consumption among children,” Kim told Reuters. School and community gardening programs and farmer´s markets also encourage healthier eating, Kim said.
On the Net:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study (NYPANS)