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Kids like veges more than parents do

Media release                                                                       Wednesday 19 November 2008


Kids like veges more than parents do


Kids have trumped their parents, showing they like fruit and veges, and understand the importance of eating them, better than their parents do.

Research by Colmar Brunton shows 93% of children understand that 5+ a day means you should try to eat five or more servings of fruit and veges every day, while only 68% of their parents understand this message.

And while children eat fruit and veges mainly because their parents tell them to (75%), they also eat them for their taste and health benefits more than their parents do.

Responding to a question that allowed multiple answers, 68% of children said they ate fruit and veges to keep their bodies healthy (parents also 68%), 65% said they ate them because they liked the taste (parents 31%) and 57% said they ate them because they were good for them in general (parents 42%).

In a healthy hat-trick, more children also wanted fruit instead of less healthy snacks than parents realised. When asked what they would prefer as snacks, 33% of children chose fruit over biscuits, chippies, chocolate or veges. Only 29% of parents thought their children would choose fruit.

But while 94% of children said they liked eating fruit and 79% said they liked eating vegetables, they were not averse to playing tricks to avoid what they didn’t like.

Some of the children have left fruit or vegetables until last so they don’t have to eat them, while others have sometimes given them to other people to eat. Sixteen per cent of them have given them to the pet to eat and 12% have dropped them on the floor or under the table.

Another parent said they sometimes got the children to cook dinner because “if they cook themselves, they will eat the veg”.

Sue Pollard, CEO of the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation says it is good to see kids are getting the 5+ A Day message.

“It’s great to see that children are understanding the importance of healthy eating options from an early age. Fruit and vegetables continue to provide excellent value for the nutritional benefits they offer. As long as we continue to encourage our children to eat a good varied range in their daily diet we’re helping to grow a healthy population for the future,” she says.

The results showed that children have a varied diet of fruit and veges, with 75% of them having tried most of the 38 fruit and vegetables on the list. Their favourite fruits were, in order, strawberries, apples and watermelon; their favourite vegetables were sweetcorn, carrots and potatoes. Perhaps surprisingly for some parents, broccoli was the fourth-favourite vegetable.

Paula Dudley of 5+ A Day said the results were particularly encouraging, showing that children like eating fruit and veges and understand that they are good for them.

“It was great to learn from the research that children have a really varied diet with many having a wide range of fruit and vegetables including mangoes, feijoas, beetroot and cauliflower.”

“Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that help grow healthy bodies, so it’s great to see children are getting the message about how important it is to eat them – and that they really enjoy doing so.”

November is national fruit and vegetable awareness month. This year, the 5+ A Day programme has the largest number of participating schools teaching children the benefits of eating fresh fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet.

A total of 1,302 primary schools and 1,821 early childhood educators have enrolled to teach the 5+ A Day curriculum. In addition, a further 485 schools receive fresh fruit daily as part of the nationwide Fruit in School Programme.



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