scorecardEmergency SNAP food benefits are ending at a time when half of US children aren't eating a vegetable a day
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Emergency SNAP food benefits are ending at a time when half of US children aren't eating a vegetable a day

Katie Balevic   

Emergency SNAP food benefits are ending at a time when half of US children aren't eating a vegetable a day
LifeInternational2 min read
  • Emergency SNAP benefits are ending this month, meaning benefits will return to the normal amount.
  • Half of US children do not consume a vegetable daily, and a third don't eat daily fruits, per CDC data.

Nearly half of American children whose parents were surveyed in a new report did not consume a daily vegetable during the previous week.

A study of over 18,000 children ages 1 to 5 found that 49.1% did not eat a daily vegetable, 32.1% did not eat a daily fruit, and 57.1% drank sugary beverages on a weekly basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 2021 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH), which was conducted by the US Census Bureau, asked parents to report their children's intake the preceding week because government "dietary intake estimates for young children are outdated at the national level and unavailable at the state level," per the CDC.

"Many young children are not consuming fruits and vegetables daily and are regularly consuming sugar-sweetened beverages," the agency said. "Federal nutrition programs and state policies and programs can support improvements in diet quality by increasing access to and availability of fruits and vegetables and healthy beverages."

It comes as the COVID boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is set to end after the February issuance, meaning families who benefit from SNAP will see their benefits returned to the normal amount without the added supplement, according to the Food and Nutrition Service.

Moreover, families that rely on both SNAP and Social Security benefits will see their SNAP benefits decrease "because of the significant cost of living increase to Social Security benefits that took effect on Jan. 1, 2023," per the FNS.

Responses to the NSCH survey varied by state. Some 30% of Vermont children did not eat a daily vegetable in the week before the survey compared to 64% of Louisiana children, per the CDC. Responses also varied by ethnicity, where the largest proportion of children who did not eat daily fruits and vegetables was Black children and the smallest proportion was white children.

"Compared with children living in food-sufficient households, those living in households with marginal or low food sufficiency were less likely to eat either a daily fruit or vegetable and were more likely to consume sugar-sweetened beverages during the preceding week," the CDC said.




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