Australian adults don’t want to eat their damn vegetables

Andrew Munro 28 August 2017

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A new health program so sensible it might just work.

Only 5.1% of both children and adults eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, according to the National Health survey 2014-2015. With the results showing that grownups don't want to eat their veggies any more than kids do, healthy eating initiatives may need to consider a new strategy rather than just trying to reach kids through their parents.

That's what this year's Fruit and Veg month is all about. It's run by the Healthy Kids Association and supported by NSW Health from 28 August to 22 September each year. This year the theme is "Get Loud for Fruit & Veg," and it's aimed directly at kids, via schools, to encourage them to discover their favourite fruit or vegetable, and to extol its virtues to other kids.

"Telling kids to eat more fruit and vegies simply because they're "healthy" doesn’t work." said Katie Booth, the program manager. "We know that Fruit & Veg Month increases kids' recognition and knowledge of fruit and vegetables, and shows that exploration of taste and texture can make a big difference to overall intake."

In other words, kids are more likely to eat the fruits and veggies that they like than the ones they don't, so the key is to let them explore the options and find their favourites. It may seem obvious in hindsight, but this simple truth has gone relatively overlooked by many parent-centric health initiatives to date. And with the price of fresh produce increasing, it simply makes a lot more sense for parents to buy good food that they know their kids like.

"We want kids to hit their recommended daily intake of fruit and veg and set up healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime," said Booth. "Fruit & Veg Month is key to encouraging increased fruit and veg intake both at school and in the home."

If all goes according to plan, kids will find the healthy fruit and veg that they like best, and start pestering their parents for more of it. And if it goes really well, Australian kids might be the ones telling parents to eat their greens.

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