Survey conducted of Cobram childen finds most children fail to reach the recommended five serves of vegetables a day.August 14, 2014 3:36am
Free fruit: Cobram Primary School grade 6 student leaders Hussain Al Sharifi, Aymen Maarj, Ruby Sproules, Vilisi Lecanadau try some local produce.
A survey conducted among children in Cobram has found they do not eat enough vegetables, according to recommendations by the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
The guidelines released in 2013 recommend children aged between six and 10 years old should consume four-and-a-half to five serves of vegetables per day.
But the survey found children in Cobram consumed an average of only 2.6 serves per day.
Results were similar across the Goulburn Valley.
The survey was done in conjunction with University of Melbourne and Goulburn Valley Primary Care Partnership.
Interestingly, most of the children surveyed were eating enough fruit. Two serves of fruit is recommended per day.
Cobram District Health dietitian Heather Mills said she was not surprised by the results.
‘‘Fruit tastes sweeter than vegetables, and kids’ tastebuds love this sweetness,’’ Ms Mills said.
‘‘Also, these findings of low vegetable intake are common across Australia.
‘‘But let’s not sit back, because we know kids will be less likely to have health complications throughout their life if their diet can be improved now.’’
Ms Mills recommended children try lots of different types of vegetables, and parents encourage their children to try new foods and make meal times fun.
‘‘To help make vegetables more appetising serve them in a stir-fry, or grate them into yummy dishes like spag bol or wraps,’’ she said.
Vegetables are often seen as a tea-time food, but Ms Mills said it was important to have vegetables at lunch time too, either in a salad sandwich, soup or homemade quiche.
The Health Promotion team is looking to provide information and support to parents in Cobram to improve the foods local children eat and boost their vegetable intake.
Contact Ms Mills at the Cobram District Community Health Centre if you have any ideas of how to increase vegetable consumption and how the Health Promotion team can help in Cobram.
‘‘Starting healthy eating habits at a young age sets kids up for a healthy and happier life, and kids who eat healthy foods now are more likely to eat well later in life.’’ Ms Mills said.
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