Canned Fruits and Vegetables Tied to Better Nutrition for America's Kids

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New study reveals children who ate canned fruits and vegetables had higher total fruit and vegetable intake and a better overall diet.[1]

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 20, 2014 – Canned fruits and vegetables play a role in improving children’s overall diet quality according to new research revealed at two leading nutrition conferences this week, the American College of Nutrition (ACN) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 2014 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo™ (AND FNCE®). The study found that children who ate canned fruits and vegetables had greater overall fruit and vegetable consumption, better diet quality and increased nutrient intake compared to children who did not eat canned fruits and vegetables.

These new data come at a particularly crucial time as U.S. children aged two to 18 years continue to fall short of meeting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans nutrition recommendations. Nine out of ten American children are not eating enough vegetables and six out of ten kids do not eat enough fruit.[2] 

The study funded by the Canned Food Alliance analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2001-2010, which includes eating habits of more than 17,000 American children aged two to 18. The NHANES data were based on 24-hour dietary recalls and used to analyze dietary and physiological differences among consumers and non-consumers of canned fruits and vegetables.

In addition to eating more fruits and vegetables, the analysis showed kids who ate canned fruits and vegetables also consumed a diet higher in nutrients necessary for optimal growth and development, including protein, vitamin A, calcium and potassium. They also ate more fiber and less fat. 

“As an advocate of healthy eating, I have long promoted the importance of incorporating all forms of fruits and vegetables, including canned varieties, into one’s diet,” researcher Marjorie Freedman, MS, PhD, says. “This study provides additional support to the benefits of serving all types of fruits and vegetables to our kids to ensure they are meeting dietary recommendations and getting the nutrients their growing bodies need.”

According to the study, kids who ate canned fruits and vegetables:

  • Consumed 22 percent more total vegetables;
  • Ate 14 percent more total fruits;
  • Had a diet lower in overall dietary fat;
  • Consumed 3.7 percent more protein; 7.7 percent more fiber; 5.8 percent more potassium; five percent more calcium; and 11.3 percent more vitamin A;
  • Had the same sodium intake; and,
  • Had comparable body weight and body mass indexes.

“Too often, misinformation drowns out the experts who know that when it comes to nutrition, all forms count,” says Rich Tavoletti, Executive Director of the Canned Food Alliance. “This study shows incorporating canned varieties to fill half of a child’s plate with fruits and veggies can result in a diet that is more nutritious overall, which is terrific news for families, schools and institutions looking to take advantage of the convenience, versatility and great taste of canned foods.”

For more information about the research, including a downloadable fact sheet, and solutions for how to meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate recommendations using canned foods, please visit www.mealtime.org.

 

About Marjorie Freedman, PhD

Marjorie Freedman, MS, PhD, is an associate professor at San Jose State University. She received her degrees from the University of California at Davis, and has worked in the field of nutrition for almost 30 years. Prior to joining SJSU, Dr. Freedman had experience working in the food industry, for a non-profit educational company, and as a nutrition consultant for private organizations and individuals.

About the Canned Food Alliance

The Canned Food Alliance, a National Strategic Partner of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, is a consortium of steelmakers, can manufacturers, food processors and affiliate members. For more information about canned food research, facts, resources, the canning process, family mealtime solutions, recipes that use canned foods and more, visit Mealtime.org or follow us on Facebook at Canned Food CANnections or on Twitter @CannedFoodFan.

Contact: Katie Calligaro, 412.922.2772 / katie@mealtime.org

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[1] Freedman MR, Fulgoni V. Consumption of Canned Fruits and Vegetables is Associated with Greater Total Vegetable and Fruit Consumption, Better Diet Quality and Increased Nutrient Intake in Children: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2010. Department of Nutrition, Science & Pkg, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA and Nutrition Impact, LLC, Battle Creek, MI [ABSTRACT]

[2] CDC Vital Signs Report http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/fruit-vegetables/index.html