New Report Highlights Fruit, Vegetable and Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Intake Among Young Children
OKLAHOMA CITY – A new study released, Variations in Fruit, Vegetable, and Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Intake Among Young Children by State, United States 2021, analyzed data from the 2021 National Survey of Children’s Health and found that many young children between one and five years of age are not eating fruits and vegetables daily and are regularly drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).
According to the study, in Oklahoma, among children ages one through five, 37.5% did not eat a daily fruit during the preceding week compared to 32.1% nationally, 57.5% did not eat a daily vegetable during the preceding week compared to 49.1% nationally, and 72.6% drank a SSB at least one weekly compared to 57.1% nationally.
“This information shows us where there is a gap,” said Fahad Khan, OSDH’s Community Analysis and Linkages Director. “In order to close the gap and improve diet quality, efforts must focus on ways to increase availability, accessibility, and affordability of fruits and vegetables. Food insecurity definitely plays a role in the data inside of this report.”
"Healthy eating is crucial to help prevent our kids from developing chronic disease and obesity. We know that creating healthy lifestyles that lead to a prosperous life, start at a young age.” said Shelly Patterson, OSDH’s Chronic Disease Prevention Director.
The 2020 – 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest children eat fruits and vegetables each day.
Oklahoma ranks among worst in the nation when it comes to food insecurity, 45th for child food insecurity and 46th for overall food insecurity rate.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) actively works to help families raise healthy kids through multiple programs and plans, including the State Plan to Reduce Obesity.
The plan, created with partners from various sectors across the state, focuses on strategies to make a direct impact on the environment contributing to chronic health conditions. Reducing food insecurity and increasing healthy food access and consumption is incorporated across this plan as one of many priorities.
Stakeholders have been actively working together to improve the nutrition environment in Oklahoma so that the healthy choice is the easy choice.
“The data isn't what we want to see, but we can use it to push us to work together to support healthy growth and brain development in our kids,” said Khan.
For more information on the study visit, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) | MMWR (cdc.gov).
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) protects and improves public health through its system of local health services and strategies focused on preventing disease. OSDH provides technical support and guidance to 68 county health departments in Oklahoma, as well as guidance and consultation to the two independent city-county health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Learn more at Oklahoma.gov/health.