|dc.description.abstract||Background: Fruit and vegetables provide a wide range of essential nutrients, and their intake is considered a marker of a healthy diet. The New Zealand Ministry of Health, Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Children and Young People (aged 2-18 years) recommend that at the age of five, children should be consuming two or more servings of fruit and three or more servings of vegetables per day. However, the New Zealand 2002 National Children’s Nutrition Survey found on the basis of the food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) data, that only half of children aged 2-14 years ate fruit at least twice a day, and vegetables at least three times a day. There are limited studies conducted in New Zealand assessing fruit and vegetable intake, and none have used weighed diet records (WDR) to determine intake in five-year old children.
Objective: To determine the fruit and vegetable intake of a sample of five-year old children living in the Otago region and to compare it with the New Zealand Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Children and Young People (aged 2-18 years).
Design: Twenty-five caregivers with a five-year old child were recruited between February and March 2015. A three-day WDR and two FFQs were completed over a four-week period by the caregivers to assess their child’s dietary intake. Height and weight of the child were measured. Data were analysed using the dietary analysis software Kai-culator to determine average fruit and vegetable consumption, and nutrient intakes.
Results: No children in the EAT5FV study met the New Zealand Ministry of Health recommendations to eat two or more servings of fruit and three or more servings of vegetables per day. Almost half the children (48%) consumed two or more servings of fruit per day, and one child (4%) consumed the recommended three or more servings of vegetables per day. Fruit and vegetable intakes were positively associated with fibre intake, but no significant associations were seen between fruit and vegetable intake, and vitamin C, body mass index (BMI), or energy intake.
Conclusion: Although the sample size was small, these results are consistent with both national and international studies which have found that children are not eating enough fruit and vegetables. The findings suggest that increased efforts are required to promote fruit and vegetable consumption in five-year old children. Further research into current interventions and potential barriers will provide practical information for decision making on how to maximise children’s fruit and vegetable intake within the available resources.||