Written by Nancy Lee, as part of her Social Marketing Sightings theme.
Sighted on: CNN News Report

Social Issue: Children’s Low Fruits & Vegetables Consumption
Social Marketing Strategy: Influencers, Behaviors and Products to Help

On 2/16/2023 CDC’s Morbity and Mortality Report highlighted that “kids under 5 aren’t getting their greens, but they are drinking sugary drinks.” 

“Researchers surveyed the parents of more than 18,000 kids ages 1 to 5 in 2021, asking them how many times the child ate fruit, the number of vegetables eaten and the number of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed in the preceding week.”

Facts from the report included:

“Children ages 2 or 3 should have at least a cup of fruit and a cup of vegetables every day while kids ages 4 to 8 should have 1.5 cups of each every day, according to nutrition guidelines from the CDC and USDA.”

The parents reported that almost half of kids did not eat a vegetable every day and about a third did not eat a fruit every day.”

More than half of the kids – 57% – drank at least one sugar-sweetened beverage that week.

Recommendations for increasing consumption of fruits &vegetables included the following: 

“The key to increasing food and vegetable intake among children under 5 is in the hands of their parents, Hamner said.  (Key Influencer)

We’ve found that it can take up to 10 times for a child to try a new food before they like it,” she said. “Continuing to try and expose young children to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is an important piece.” (Behavior)

It can also help to offer varying tastes and textures of foods so children can boost their intake and better understand what they prefer. (Product)

Parents shouldn’t feel tied to fresh fruits and vegetables, either. Frozen and canned options are great ways to incorporate nutrition in every meal. (Product)

“One of the things that’s really important is these early dietary behaviors,” Hamner said. “This is really when kids are laying the foundation for some of those dietary behaviors, so starting out strong and making sure that they’re creating these healthy behaviors … that’s going to set them up as they go into adolescence and adulthood.” (Benefit)


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