Feb 22, 2023 - Food and Drink

Virginia's youngest kids aren't eating enough vegetables

Illustration of salad ingredients forming a frowny face on a plate.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Virginia's youngest kids aren't eating enough fruits and veggies.

More than half of Virginia children ages 1-5 aren’t eating a daily vegetable, and 30% aren't having at least one fruit each day, the CDC reported last week.

Why it matters: The data offers a glimpse at the quality of childhood diets, which affect growth and development. It comes amid increased interest in addressing nutrition and rising concerns about the pending loss of pandemic-era food benefits, Axios’ Tina Reed reports.

Zoom in: Nearly 1 million Virginians rely on SNAP benefits for groceries, including fruit and vegetables. The majority of those are households with children.

  • The pandemic-era program that provided those families with an additional $95 a month ended last week.

Details: Researchers examined more than 18,000 responses from parents to the 2021 National Survey of Children’s Health about what kids between 1 and 5 years old ate the previous week.

By the numbers: In Virginia, 51.8% said their child did not eat a daily vegetable, and 30.8% said their child didn’t eat a daily fruit.

  • Over 45% said their child consumed a sugar-sweetened beverage at least once in the prior week.

Of note: The older the kids get, the less likely they are to eat a daily fruit or veggie — and the more likely they are to be drinking a weekly sugary drink.


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