Research

5 OR MORE SERVINGS OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

  • One serving of fruits and vegetables is:
  • 1 medium fruit
  • ½ cup of chopped, canned or cooked fruit
  • ¼ cup of dried fruit
  • 1 cup of raw leafy greens
  • ½ cup of raw or cooked vegetables
  • ½ cup of 100% fruit or vegetable juice

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 20101 provide the following recommendations:

  • Increase fruit and vegetable intake
  • Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red, and orange vegetables, and beans and peas

The American Academy of Pediatrics has the following recommendations for consuming fruit juice:

  • Do not give juice to infants younger than 6 months
  • Limit juice to 4-6 oz per day in children 1 to 6 years
  • Limit juice to 8-12 oz per day in children and adolescents 7 years and older
  • Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruits – whole fruits provide fiber and other nutrients

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that half of a person’s plate should be fruits and vegetables3. This recommendation is reflected on the current U.S. Food Guidance System, MyPlate, which is shown to the left.

2 OR FEWER HOURS OF RECREATIONAL SCREEN TIME+

+Review guidelines on parenting strategies to ensure quality screen time (AAP, 2015).

Screen time is free time spent sitting or reclining in front of televisions, computers, tablets, and similar screens.

The American Academy of Pediatrics provides the following recommendations:

  • No screen time for children under 2 years of age
  • Less than 2 hours per day of screen time for children and adolescents 2 years of age and older

1 OR MORE HOURS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Physical activity is any movement of the body that raises one’s heart rate above resting.

Structured physical activities are planned, and unstructured physical activities are free-play.

Aerobic physical activities involve moving large muscle groups. Moderate and vigorous aerobic activities make a person’s heart, lungs, and muscles work noticeably harder. Examples include bicycling, swimming, and playing chasing games like tag.

Muscle-strengthening physical activities include climbing and swinging on playground equipment, doing sit-ups and push-ups, and resistance training.

Bone-strengthening physical activities create an impact on bones, such as hitting a tennis ball, jumping rope, or practicing gymnastics.

For children 5 years and younger, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education has developed the following recommendations:

  • Infants under 12 months of age should engage in structured and unstructured physical activities each day that are devoted to exploring movement and developing motor skills
  • Toddlers ages 12 to 36 months should engage in structured physical activities for at least 30 minutes per day plus unstructured physical activities for at least 60 minutes (and up to several hours) per day
  • Preschoolers ages 3 to 5 years should engage in structured physical activities for at least 60 minutes per day plus unstructured physical activities for at least 60 minutes (and up to several hours) per day
  • Children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 years should engage in 1 hour of physical activity per day
    • Most of the 1 hour should be moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activities
    • Muscle-strengthening physical activities should be included at least 3 days per week
    • Bone-strengthening physical activities should be included at least 3 days per week

0 SWEETENED BEVERAGES

Sweetened beverages are fruit drinks, sodas, sports drinks, and other beverages with caloric sweeteners like sugars and syrups.

Researchers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Eating Research program made the following conclusion following an examination of current evidence:

  • Reducing sweetened beverage intake “would have no negative effect on children’s health and would reduce the risk of childhood obesity and many other health problems, including type 2 diabetes, poor nutrition, excess caffeine consumption and dental decay.”