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Issue Brief

Kids’ Consumption of Fruits, Vegetables, and Sugary Drinks

CACFP Dietary Guidelines WIC Ages 2-4
A young boy smiles and holds up a strawberry in a school cafeteria
A young boy smiles and holds up a strawberry in a school cafeteria


October 23rd, 2023


Kids need a nutritious diet to grow up healthy and strong. And while experts recommend children eat fruits and vegetables each day and avoid sugary drinks, a recent study underscores the need for strong policies and programs to increase access to healthy foods in places where young children live, learn, and play.

The study, which was released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in February 2023, analyzes data from the 2021 National Survey of Children’s Health. It shows that many young children are struggling to meet recommendations for a healthy diet.

Among kids ages 1 to 5, 49% did not eat a vegetable every day, 32% did not eat a fruit every day, and 57% drank at least one sugar-sweetened beverage in the last week. The percentage of children who did not eat a fruit or vegetable daily was higher among those who lived in households with limited food sufficiency and among Black children.

The authors call out important efforts to support kids and families, including WIC and the Child and Adult Care Food Program; implementing nutrition standards in early care and education systems; and regular screening and counseling on food and nutrition security by healthcare providers.

Find the full study at

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