Child Care and Schools Can Help Children Meet Daily Recommendations
Children in the U.S. ate 67% more whole fruit from 2003-2010, but the amount of vegetables they ate remained unchanged, according to CDC’s latest Vital Signs report. Also, during that same time period, children drank 30% less juice, and whole fruit replaced fruit juice as the main contributor of fruit to children's diets. Experts recommend that the majority of fruit come from whole fruit, rather than juice.
Despite this progress in fruit intake, children still do not meet recommendations for the amount of fruit and vegetables they should eat daily; 60% of children did not eat enough fruit in 2007-2010, and 93% of children did not eat enough vegetables. Recommendations for the amount of fruit and vegetables children should eat are based on a child’s age, gender, and level of physical activity. Recommendations range from 1-2 cups for fruit and 1-3 cups for vegetables.
About 60 million children in the U.S. attend child care or school where the food they eat and the nutrition education they receive can affect their health and lifelong food choices. This Vital Signs report highlights ways child care providers and schools can help increase the amount of fruit and vegetables children eat each day. To do this, child care, schools, and school districts can:
- Meet or exceed current federal nutrition standards for meals and snacks.
- Serve fruit and vegetables whenever food is offered.
- Train staff to make fruit and vegetables more appealing and accessible.
- Provide nutrition education and hands-on learning opportunities, such as growing, tasting, and preparing fruit and vegetables.