According to a recent study, apples are the most popular fruit among American children and adolescents.
Research was conducted by examining answers given by more than 3,100 subjects, aged between 2 and 19, in the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Data was collected by the Centers for Disease Control in order to determine trends in food consumption among young people.
Study findings related to fruit intake were published in the October issue of the Pediatrics Journal. Their aim was to establish the popularity of specific fruit types.
It was discovered that 53% of the study participants were more likely to eat whole fruits, while 34% opted for 100-percent fruit juices. The rest of the respondents opted for other beverages with lower fruit quantities.
There were variations in consumption, depending on the age and race of the subjects. For instance, when it comes to teens, fresh fruit are chosen by 60% of Asians, 55% of white people, and 43% of black respondents. Also it appears that children aged between 6 and 11 eat 8% more whole fruit than preschoolers, and are 13% less likely to opt for juice.
“It’s simultaneously horrifying and not at all shocking that a full third of all ‘fruit’ being consumed by children is in juice form, a number that leaps to 40.9% in the under 5 crowd”, commented Yoni Freedhoff, assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa.
According to him, juice is more comparable to soda, since it is devoid of the fiber and nutritional value that whole fruits have. Basically, it consists of water mixed a high quantity of free sugars, which decrease satiety levels. This leads to higher calorie consumption, which contributes to childhood obesity.
In addition, experts established that apples represent a fifth of the overall fruit intake of American youngsters. When considering them in conjunction with apple juice, they account for 30% of the fruit consumption.
Other popular picks were citrus juice, bananas, melons, berries, grapes and peaches.
According to experts, apples may have their benefits and may be more easily accessible. However, it would be ideal to favor a variety of fruit instead, so that children and teenagers can enjoy a wider palette of minerals and vitamins.
The motivation behind this experiment was the worrying fact that just 40% of kids eat the daily recommended fruit servings of 1 to 2 cups. Those guidelines were established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in order to promote healthier eating habits.
As the American Academy of Pediatrics has shown, incorporating a high quantity of fruit and vegetables into the daily diet diminishes the risk of diabetes, cancer and stroke.
Therefore, nutritionists urge parents to act as positive role models to their children when it comes to healthy habits. Also, kids should receive nutritious lunch packs, be more involved in the cooking process, and be convinced to eat more fruit and veggies through fun games and creative activities.
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