New data from NPD FoodWorld Group Research, commissioned by Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), shows children under the age of 12 have been eating more fruits and vegetables since 2004, in fact, children under the age of 6 increased their fruit consumption by 11 percent from 2004 through 2009, while consumption for ages 6-12 increased by 7 percent. The vegetable trend was slightly less positive, but still an improvement, with children under the age of six consuming 3 percent more vegetables over the last 5 years and 6-12 year-olds consuming 2 percent more.
Sadly, teen consumption of fruit and vegetables is on the decline, with a 6 percent decrease in vegetable consumption and a 2 percent decrease in fruit consumption since 2004. That's consistent with findings the CDC study published in the September 10 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly which indicated that last year's adult fruit consumption was down slightly and that vegetable consumption was about the same as reported in 2000.
"As president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), I'm pleased to see that at least our younger children are consuming more fruits and vegetables," said Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D. "However, the decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption as children move into their teen years is troublesome. Is it because fruits and vegetables aren't available at school, or because it isn't 'cool' to eat them anymore, thanks to extensive marketing of less nutritious foods, or a combination of these factors and others? Regardless, we still have a long way to go to get consumption up to recommended levels. We applaud the efforts of parents and policy makers that have helped increase consumption among younger children; we simply encourage them to do more of it."
For ideas on how to do more, parents can take America's More Matters Pledge and strive to provide healthy fruits and vegetables to their children at home, while on the go, and at school.
Incidentally, PBH's Fruits & Veggies-More Matters website received The Web Marketing Association's 2010 WebAward Outstanding Achievement in Web Development for Non-Profit Standard of Excellence award. PBH's consumer website was chosen from more than 2,000 sites from 45 countries entering this year's competition, and entries were evaluated on design, copy writing, innovation, content, interactivity, navigation, and use of technology. Congratulations!