Sustained low consumption of fruit and vegetables in Australian children

findings from the Australian National Health Surveys

Seema Mihrshahi, Rimma Myton, Stephanie R. Partridge, Emma Esdaile, Louise L. Hardy, Joanne Gale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Issue addressed: Intakes of fruit and vegetables in children are inadequate. Our purpose was to examine national data on the proportion of Australian children meeting the fruit and vegetable recommendations in 2011‐2012 and 2014‐2015, assessing changes over time and differences by age, sex and socio‐economic status (SES).

Methods: Secondary analysis of 2011‐2012 and 2014‐2015 Australian National Health Surveys of Australian children aged 2‐18 years. Percentages of children meeting fruit and vegetable recommendations by survey year, age group, sex and SES tertile were calculated using population weights supplied by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Chi‐squared tests and logistic regression were used to test for the relative influence of each factor.

Results: In 2011‐2012, 64.6%, 5.1% and 4.6% of children met the recommended intake for fruit, vegetable and fruit–vegetable combined, respectively. In 2014‐2015, 68.2%, 5.3% and 5.1% of all children met the recommended intake for fruit, vegetable and fruit–vegetable combined, respectively. There was a large reduction in proportions of children meeting both the fruit and vegetable recommendations between 3 and 4 years of age, which coincides with when most Australian children start pre‐school. There were consistent differences by sex for both fruit and vegetables, but we found little evidence that SES is a significant factor predicting the difference in meeting the vegetable recommendations.

Conclusion: The proportion of Australian children meeting fruit and vegetable recommendations are sub‐optimal across all SES groups which suggests that a national approach across demographic strata is warranted.

So what? Future health promotion interventions should have a refocus on vegetables instead of “fruit and vegetables,” particularly in the key transition period when children start pre‐school.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-87
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dietary Guidelines
  • fruit
  • healthy eating
  • vegetables

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