01/29/2007 - News

Teens are not getting the healthy eating message

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Teens are not getting the healthy eating message

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

Today's adolescents are eating fewer fruits and vegetables than previously and eat even fewer as they get older.
Despite numerous healthy eating initiatives, it looks as if teens are still not consuming enough fruit and vegetables. Researchers at the University of Minnesota looked at the eating habits of 944 boys and 1,161 girls in 1999 and again in 2004. During the transition from middle school or junior high to high school, girls decreased their fruit and vegetable intake from four servings per day to three. Boys decreased their intake from about two and a half to fewer than two.

Going from high school to early adulthood, the teens decreased their fruit and vegetable consumption again, by about the same amount. In 2004, girls were consuming about one serving less of fruit and vegetables than in 1999. Over the same time period, boys decreased their intake correspondingly by about half a serving a day. The researchers believe the wide availability and choice of fast and processed foods may be influencing teens' food choices. They add that fewer teens are having home-cooked family meals. More should be done, they say, to enhance the palatability and availability of fruit and vegetables and, maybe, access to fast, processed food should be limited.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine February 2007

Created on: 01/29/2007
Reviewed on: 01/29/2007

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