Research Behind the RAAPS Questions (Question #2)

RAAPS Question #2: Fruit and Vegetable Intake

Eating well is often hard for teens.  Busy schedules, hanging around peers, frequenting fast food restaurants, and snacking can lead to excessive intake of fat, sugar, and calories and an insufficient intake of important vitamins and minerals. Studies show that teens in middle adolescence are eating fewer fruits and vegetables today than they did ten years ago. During the transition from middle school to high school, teens decrease their intake of fruits and vegetables by almost one serving per day, and only 21.4% of high school students reported eating the recommended daily amount of five servings or more of fruits and vegetables.

Food insufficiency in children is associated with poor behavioral and academic functioning.  Many families are unable to purchase fruits and vegetables due to limited budgets, it is much cheaper and more filling to purchase food off of a $1 menu at a fast food restaurant then to purchase fruits and vegetables.  RAAPS data indicates 20.4% of teens reported not eating fruits and vegetables daily (1 out of 5 teens!).  If fruits and vegetables are not available at home, give teens other ideas for obtaining them – school lunchrooms, healthier fast food choices.  Good nutrition will go a long way to improving teen’s overall health and well-being!