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Dietary Behaviors

Narrative

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages while maintaining calorie balance to reach and maintain a healthy weight. The Guidelines encourage all individuals aged 2 years and older to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk products, as well as a variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and nuts and seeds, while limiting sodium, solid fats, added sugars, and refined grains.1

In 2011, 5.7 percent of high school students reported that they did not eat any vegetables during the past 7 days, while 11.7 percent reported that they did not eat any fruit during the past week. Overall, males were more likely than females to report no vegetable or fruit consumption in the past week (6.9 percent versus 4.5 percent and 12.6 percent versus 10.7 percent, respectively; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). The proportion of adolescents who reported neither vegetable nor fruit consumption also varied by race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic White and Asian students were generally less likely to report no vegetable consumption than non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic students. Non-Hispanic Blacks were also more likely to report no fruit consumption in the past week.

Overall, 15.3 percent of high school students reported eating vegetables three or more times per day and nearly one-quarter (22.4 percent) reported eating fruit or drinking 100% fruit juice three or more times per day in the past 7 days. Males were more likely to report this level of fruit and vegetable consumption than females; no trends were observed by grade level (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

Because soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar for Americans, the Guidelines recommend limiting the consumption of such beverages in order to lower calorie consumption. In 2011, nearly one-fifth (19.0 percent) of high school students drank two or more cans, bottles or glasses of soda per day during the last 7 days.2 Males were more likely than females to consume two or more sodas a day (21.8 percent versus 16.1 percent; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). Few racial/ethnic differences were observed, with the notable exception of non-Hispanic Asian students, of whom only 12.4 percent reported consuming this amount of soda.

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Accessed: August 9, 2012.

2 Does not include diet soda or diet pop.

Graph

This image is described in the Data section.

children dietray behavior

Data

High School Students Who Engaged in Selected Dietary Behaviors, by Race/Ethnicity, 2011
Dietary Behaviors (past 7 days) Percent of Students
No Vegetable No Fruit Consumption 2 Sodas per Day
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Online: High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Accessed: 08/09/12.
Total 5.7 11.7 19
Non-Hispanic White 4 10.7 19.0
Non-Hispanic Black 9.9 17.8 22.2
Hispanic 8.2 10.7 18.0
Non-Hispanic Asian 5.0 9.9 12.4
Non-Hispanic American Indian/ Alaska Native 5.8 11.7 21.7
Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 7.3 10.` 16.5
Non-Hispanic Multiple Races 4.7 11.9 18.7