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Nutrition issues

Many children are not eating enough fruits and vegetables.
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Many children are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. In Australia, less than half of two- to three-year-olds eat enough vegetables. And by the time children reach four to eight years of age, fewer than 10% eat the recommended number of vegetables serves each day. Children are also consuming too much energy from foods high in saturated fat and sugar. 20% of Canadian children aged one to four years consume more energy than they need. Australian children aged two to five consume around 30% to 35% of their total energy from energy-dense foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar, or salt, such as biscuits, cookies, cakes, lollies, candy, chocolate, and fried foods.
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In the United States, children and adolescents consume 12% of their energy from fast foods and 30% eat fast foods on any given day. In developing countries, the trends are perhaps even more concerning. In Mexico, around 3/4 of children are consuming sweets by the age of nine months. Whereas, just over half are consuming fruit. And only 1/4 are consuming vegetables. Over 60% of children consume sugar-sweetened beverages at the age of 12 months, and almost 80% by the age of two years.
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Families are spending less time eating dinner at the table together, and more time eating dinner while watching TV. A recent report in New South Wales, Australia found that over 60% of zero- to eight-year-old children eat together at the table with their family only two to four times per week or less. And over 30% ate dinner in front of the TV at least two to four times per week. Over 50% of parents of two- to eight-year-olds reported using food as a reward for good behavior.
Children are eating more energy dense foods than they should and not enough fruits and vegetables…

A few alarming statistics:

  • Less than 10% of 4-8 year old children in Australia eat the recommended number of vegetable serves each day.
  • 20% of 1-4 year old children in Canada consume more energy than they need.
  • Australian children aged 2-5 years consume around 30-35% of their total energy from energy dense foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar or salt such as biscuits/cookies, cakes, lollies/candy, chocolate and fried foods.
  • Children and adolescents from the United States consume 12% of their energy from fast foods and 30% eat fast foods on any given day.
  • In Mexico, by the age of 9 months, approximately 75% of children consume sweets, 50% consume fruit, and 25% consume vegetables.
  • In Mexico over 60% of children consume sugar sweetened beverages at the age of 12 months and almost 80% by 2 years of age.

Conversation starter

  • What are the statistics in your country?
  • Where would you look to find some of these statistics?
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