Children are not eating anywhere near enough vegetables and are relying too much on unhealthy snack foods for energy, the latest Chief Health Officer’s Report shows.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard and NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant today launched the report, What NSW children eat and drink, which shows that only one in 20 children eats enough vegetables each day.
“One in five children in NSW is overweight or obese so we all need to take a good look at what makes it onto the dinner plate,” Hazzard said.
“A healthy diet sets children up for life – if we support parents to get it right early then they have the best chance possible of heading off potential health, and mental health, illnesses for their children.”
The report surveys eating and drinking habits of children aged five to 15, focusing on fruit and vegetables, treat foods, milk, water and sweetened drinks and fruit drinks.
Half of all kids in NSW eat an unhealthy snack every day and more than 40 per cent eat takeaway at least once a week, which is often high in saturated fat, salt and sugar.
However, three in five children eat the recommended amount of fruit and nearly two- thirds drink enough water.
Dr Chant said the survey findings indicate far too many households regard treat foods as diet staples.
“Snacks such as cakes, biscuits and chips are no longer occasional treats – they make up almost 40 per cent of kids’ total daily energy intake,” Dr Chant said.
“Children should eat about five serves of vegetables a day. We know that diets that are low in vegetables are a risk factor for disease later in life.”
One of the Premier’s Priorities is to reduce overweight and obesity rates of children by five percentage points by 2025.