New Kids Nutrition Research
Findings from a new study funded by the Canned Food Alliance were presented by Marjorie Freedman, MS, PhD, at the American College of Nutrition annual conference in San Antonio, TX, on Oct. 17, 2014 and at The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Atlanta on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014.
By Dr. Marjorie Freedman, MS, PhD
Associate Professor, San Jose State University
Canned fruits and vegetables play a role in improving children’s overall diet quality according to new research I worked on with the Canned Food Alliance. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.