Title

Inadequate Intake of Fruits and Vegetables Among Youth

Location

Harborside Center East and West

Strand #1

Mental & Physical Health

Strand #2

Family & Community

Relevance

This proposal is directly relevant to strands IV and V, which respectively relate to promotion of physical health and the enhancement of community and parental support for youth. One of the biggest public health challenges has been increasing fruit and vegetable intake among young adults. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and nutrients, and their benefits should be taught to children in engaging ways. Dietary habits are ingrained at a very young age; therefore, parents should be able to teach their children to eat healthily by incorporating fruits and vegetables in their diets early on.

Brief Program Description

Self-reported data has shown that college students do not consume recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. It is imperative that they receive information in school-wide nutrition programs on the numerous benefits of different fruits and vegetables. Parents should be encouraged to introduce their children to these food groups early on, and must learn to make creative, yet healthy meals.

Summary

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk for many debilitating diseases, including several types of cancers, hypertension, heart disease, and Type 2 Diabetes. As a necessary part of daily diet, fruits and vegetables are also great sources of vitamins, potassium, and fiber and help lower cholesterol levels. They are excellent low-calorie foods, and can surely assist individuals who want to lower their weight and combat obesity. The United States Department of Agriculture has a detailed chart with the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables for each age group. For those within the 19-30 age group, 2 cups of fruit are recommended daily. In spite of these guidelines being emphasized, a study among college students revealed that most do not receive this amount. When 65 college students were surveyed, approximately 55.4% had 0 or only 1 serving of fruits per day. For vegetables, 78.5% reported eating only 0 or 1 serving despite a recommended amount of 2.5 cups for women and 3 cups for men. The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program was adopted in schools in 2008, but perhaps this federal program needs to be reexamined with more funding to best meet the needs of growing children. The National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program has aimed to provide nutritional, healthy meals to students across America. Ever since it was instituted, individuals particularly from low-income families have benefited greatly from reduced cost/free school lunches that provide balanced meals. Websites such as Choose My Plate by the U.S. Department of Agriculture also aid in helping young people make healthy choices and should be advertised more. More specialized programs within schools that actually focus on food education and teaching nutrition would be even more beneficial for students. Engaging pamphlets should be given out in the school programs, and parents can also receive instructions on how to easily incorporate fruits and vegetables into snacks/meals.

Evidence

In a study done on 30 seventh-grade classes, one group received intervention after a quick questionnaire on fruit and vegetable intake while the other group did not. Those in the intervention group received a 5-minute online session on the benefits of fruits and vegetables, and then both groups completed a related health questionnaire. Children who received intervention showed greater knowledge of recommended servings and experienced positive growth in knowledge. Perhaps a longer intervention could result in more sustained benefits for youth.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Supriya Immaneni is a junior at Northwestern University in the seven-year BS/MD Honors Program of Medical Education. She is majoring in Psychology with an anticipated graduation year of 2015, and has received acceptance to Feinberg School of Medicine. She has had 1 poster presentation at the 2014 National Youth at Risk conference.

Shannon Cearley is a senior Nutrition and Food Science Major at Georgia Southern University. She has one published paper in the European Journal of Scientific Research and presented her paper at the 2014 Phi Kappa Phi research symposium, presented a paper on Sex and Religion at the 2013 Georgia Southern Religious Studies conference, and had 3 poster presentations at the 2014 National Youth at Risk conference.

Dr. Padmini Shankar is an Associate Professor of Nutrition and Food Science at Georgia Southern University.

Keyword Descriptors

Diet, Nutrition, Health, Fruits, Vegetables

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-3-2015 4:00 PM

End Date

3-3-2015 5:30 PM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Mar 3rd, 4:00 PM Mar 3rd, 5:30 PM

Inadequate Intake of Fruits and Vegetables Among Youth

Harborside Center East and West

Self-reported data has shown that college students do not consume recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. It is imperative that they receive information in school-wide nutrition programs on the numerous benefits of different fruits and vegetables. Parents should be encouraged to introduce their children to these food groups early on, and must learn to make creative, yet healthy meals.