Vital Signs: Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among Children — United States, 2003–2010
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Vital Signs: Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among Children — United States, 2003–2010

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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • Description:

    Eating more fruits and vegetables adds underconsumed nutrients to diets, reduces the risks for leading causes of illness and death, and helps manage body weight. This report describes trends in the contributions of fruits and vegetables to the diets of children aged 2–18 years.


    CDC analyzed 1 day of 24-hour dietary recalls from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 2003 to 2010 to estimate trends in children’s fruit and vegetable intake in cup-equivalents per 1,000 calories (CEPC) and trends by sex, age, race/ethnicity, family income to poverty ratio, and obesity status. Total fruit includes whole fruit (all fruit excluding juice) and fruit juice (from 100% juice, foods, and other beverages). Total vegetables include those encouraged in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 (i.e., dark green, orange, and red vegetables and legumes), white potatoes, and all other vegetables.


    Total fruit intake among children increased from 0.55 CEPC in 2003–2004 to 0.62 in 2009–2010 because of significant increases in whole fruit intake (0.24 to 0.40 CEPC). Over this period, fruit juice intake significantly decreased (0.31 to 0.22 CEPC). Total vegetable intake did not change (0.54 to 0.53 CEPC). No socio-demographic group met the Healthy People 2020 target of 1.1 CEPC vegetables, and only children aged 2–5 years met the target of 0.9 CEPC fruits.


    Children’s total fruit intake increased because of increases in whole fruit consumption, but total vegetable intake remained unchanged.

    Implications for Public Health Practice

    Increased attention to the policies and food environments in multiple settings, including schools, early care and education, and homes might help continue the progress in fruit intake and improve vegetable intake.

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