Report: Only 1 percent of U.S. kids eat properly
September 2, 1997
Web posted at: 4:34 p.m. EDT (2034 GMT)
From Correspondent Carolyn O'Neil
ATLANTA (CNN) -- Only 1 percent of U.S. children eat the
recommended quantities of grains, vegetables, fruits, meats
and dairy foods, according to a new survey released by the
National Cancer Institute.
The survey, published in the journal Pediatrics, indicated
that just 36 percent of U.S. kids meet federal
recommendations for the daily intake of vegetables and fruit.
The study on children's' eating habits was based on a survey
of 3,300 children aged 2 to 19.
|Dietitian Kathleen Zelman recommends five simple rules to help children eat better:
- Serve 1 percent or skimmed milk.
- Use higher-fiber cereals.
- Serve low-fat frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.
- Buy lower-fat snack food.
- Get them to eat more vegetables.
Also, on average, American kids were getting 35 percent of
their calories from fat -- 5 percent higher than recommended.
"The intake of fat is much higher than we'd like it to be,"
said Kathryn Munoz of the National Cancer Institute.
Kids were eating too much sugar, instead of fruit and
vegetables, according to the survey. Only 36 percent of
children polled ate the three to five servings of vegetables
per day, as recommended by health authorities.
"Children are not eating their fruits and vegetables as often
as they should," Munoz said. But she said that while some
children were not given enough of those food groups, others
might simply not like them and prefer sugary foods.
"I think it's a wake-up call. We need to take
responsibility," said dietitian Kathleen Zelman, who urged
parents to take control of the eating habits of their
That strategy could also pay off for children's futures. What
concerns nutrition experts the most is that eating habits in
childhood carry over to adulthood, which does not bode well
for the future health of America.
Perhaps the greatest deficiency for families of today is time
-- time to sit down and eat a balanced meal. But, as one
mother commented, "I'm not saying it's easy to do, but it's