Feb 17, 2023 - Health

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.

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.

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