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Research: Kids aren't eating enough fruits & vegetables

Research shows children aren't eating enough fruits, vegetables
Research shows children aren't eating enough fruits, vegetables 02:08

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Kids can be picky at the breakfast, lunch, and dinner tables. Now, a new survey shows one in two children don't eat a vegetable each day. One in three don't eat fruit daily.

"This is a time period when kids are growing and developing. They need vitamins and minerals to make sure that they have that growth and development," said Dr. Heather Hamner, senior health scientist of the CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. 

The CDC analyzed data from the 2021 national survey of children's health, showing that 57% drank a sugar-sweetened beverage like fruit drinks or soda at least once a week. 

"Creating that strong foundation early on and encouraging fruits and vegetables and healthy beverages really can give our kids a healthier start. And it can help as we move into adolescence and adulthood," Dr. Hamner said. "Those healthy dietary patterns reduce your risk for chronic diseases like obesity."

Researchers say parents should offer at least one vegetable or fruit at each meal and snack. That doesn't just mean fresh produce either. Frozen and canned are also good options.

"We have research that shows that it can take up to ten times for a kid to learn to like a new food item," Dr. Hamner said. "So continuing to try and encourage a wide variety of fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack is a great way to do it."

The CDC adds that healthcare providers and educational settings also need to do their part so kids learn to eat right and enjoy it too. 

The percentage of children who did not eat a daily fruit or vegetable was highest among two to five-year-olds, and also with minority children whose families may have limited access to fresh produce. 

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