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Updates about the Horticulture Wales project, along with industry news and opinion.

Market Analysis: Fruit And Veg Consumption Amongst Welsh Children

20 December 2013

Less than a third of secondary school children in Wales eat fruit or vegetables every day, according to a new national report.

Fruit Bowl 1 (374px * 501px)Last month, research body the Public Health Wales Observatory published Health of Children and Young People in Wales, a comprehensive summary of health and health-related statistics for people in Wales aged 24 and under. The report identifies a number of worrying trends, such as only 36% of children meeting the recommended amounts of daily physical activity for their age, while nearly a third of all children aged 4-5 in Wales are classified as obese or overweight.

Bearing in mind the importance of fruit and veg consumption in contributing to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing various health conditions and illnesses later in life, we were particularly interested to analyse how much fruit and veg Welsh youngsters were eating – the results were similarly concerning.

The levels of both fruit and vegetable consumption amongst 11-16 year-olds in Wales were lower than any other region of the UK, and also below the average of the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) survey carried out by the World Health Organisation. Only 32% of children in Wales eat one piece of fruit or one piece of veg per day, despite the ‘five a day’ recommendation.

MA Children UK (480px * 313px)

For veg consumption in children, rates were lowest in the Cwm Taf health region, with less than a quarter of children consuming one portion a day (23%), although the highest results, in Powys and Cardiff & Vale, exceeding the HBSC study average.  Powys consumption (41%), in particular, also exceeded average consumption for England (40%). 

For fruit consumption in children, only Cardiff & Vale exceeded the HBSC average of 37%, matching average consumption rates in England at 39%.  Cwm Taf and Aneurin Bevan health regions had the lowest rates of consumption at 28% each.

The results also showed some gender differences, with girls aged 11-16 years generally more likely to consume at least one portion of fruit and veg a day (35% and 34% respectively) compared to boys (30% for both fruit and veg).

MA Children Regions (502px * 409px)

Source: Health of Children and Young People in Wales, November 2013

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