Mapped: Where kids are eating their vegetables
Nearly half of young kids aren't eating a daily vegetable and 1 in 3 aren't getting at least one daily fruit in their diets, the CDC reported Thursday.
Why it matters: The data offers a glimpse at the quality of kids' diets — which impact growth and development — at a time of increased interest in addressing childhood nutrition, as well as concerns about the pending loss of pandemic-era food benefits.
- It also comes as urgency builds over chronic diet-related illnesses and there's more attention on food as medicine programs in state Medicaid programs.
Details: Researchers examined more than 18,000 responses from parents to the 2021 National Survey of Children's Health regarding what kids ages 1 to 5 consumed in the previous week.
- Just under half (49.1%) said their child did not eat a daily vegetable and 32.1% indicated a daily fruit wasn't consumed.
- Meanwhile, 57.1% said a sugar-sweetened beverage had been consumed by their child in the last week.
The big picture: Results varied greatly by state.
- For example, in Vermont, 30.4% of children in Vermont did not eat a daily vegetable in the prior week, compared with 64.3% in Louisiana.
- About 40% of children in Maine consumed a sugar-sweetened beverage in the prior week compared to nearly 80% in Mississippi.
- There also were differences by race and ethnicity, with non-Hispanic Black children likeliest to not consume a daily fruit or vegetable.
The bottom line: States can use the findings to prioritize efforts to improve early childhood nutrition, the authors wrote.