NUTRITION: Kids Eat Too Few Fruits, Vegetables, Study Says
Children in California are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, but those participating in subsidized school meal programs eat healthier than children in higher-income families, according to a recently released study. To coincide with its "Spring into Health" day, on Wednesday the American Cancer Society released a statewide survey of children's eating habits. Of the 800 nine- to 11-year-olds surveyed, those from families earning more that $50,000 annually ate 2.7 servings of fruit and vegetables each day -- the lowest of any group. ACS recommends that everyone eat five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Students from middle and low-income families averaged 3.2 servings per day. Receiving the highest score, with an average of 4.1 servings per day, were students who participated in school breakfast programs. Students enrolled in state-funded school lunch programs also averaged a half serving more of fruits and vegetables than those not participating in the program. And if not for french fries, which were included as a vegetable, the overall numbers would have been worse, according to ACS spokesperson Carla Norred. She said, "I think that the nutrition directors within the school districts are endeavoring to provide children with the proper balance of food. But the school lunch programs are only part of the story." Norred added that "parents [need] to really pay attention to what they feed their youngsters" AP/Sacramento Bee, 4/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.