March 12/NewsRx Health -- The March issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association features research studies focusing on eating habits of consumers at all stages of the life cycle, from children and adolescents to middle-aged and elderly adults.
U.S. children and adolescents are not meeting guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption, according to researchers at Ohio State University.
The researchers analyzed results of the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to assess the amounts of fruits and vegetables consumed by children and adolescents compared to Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations, and to identify factors related to low fruit and vegetable consumption.
In a study of more than 6,500 children ages 2-18, the researchers found those not meeting recommendations tended to be male, older and living in households making between 130-350% of the federal poverty level.
The researchers found 2-to-5 year-olds consumed significantly more fruit and juice than children ages 6-11 and 12-18-year-olds. Total vegetable consumption was significantly higher among 12-18-year-olds. However, only 8% of vegetables consumed by children in all groups were dark green or orange; fried potatoes constituted about 46% of total vegetable consumption.
The study also found fruit consumption differed significantly among race, ethnicities and household income. Mexican Americans consumed significantly more fruit than non-Hispanic white children and adolescents. In addition, non-Hispanic black children and adolescents consumed significantly more dark-green vegetables and fewer deep-yellow vegetables than Mexican American and non-Hispanic white children and adolescents.
The researchers concluded, "These children and adolescents should be targeted for nutritional interventions focusing on amounts and types of fruits and vegetables to consume. Nevertheless, there is a common need among American children and adolescents for nutritional interventions designed to increase daily fruit and vegetable consumption. When counseling children, adolescents and their parents/caregivers, dietitians need to address factors that may influence fruit and vegetable intake, such as gender, age, race/ethnicity and income."
From the March 16, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition