Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An apple a day? No way!

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An apple a day? No way!

Experts suggest every child eat at least 150 grams of fruit a day.

One in four Chinese primary school students say they are too busy to eat fruit every day, while many dislike fruit for the simple reason that their parents tell them to eat it.

That is the result of a recent survey by the Chinese Association for Student Nutrition & Health Promotion, who last month issued a questionnaire among 1,500 children in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. They found 28 percent didn't eat fruit every day and of those who did, one in seven did not eat enough.

Among students who didn't eat fruit every day, 50 percent said it was because they "didn't have time" and 40 percent of those who didn't like fruit said it was because "my parents forced me to".

"Fruit is a natural source of many nutritional elements, can balance a person's nutritional intake and help to control overweight," says Association director Du Yuxia.

He says about 20 percent of primary school students in Beijing and Guangzhou are overweight, while the figure is nearly 30 percent in Shanghai.

Hu Xiaoqi, a nutrition expert with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), believes a student should eat at least 150 grams of fruit a day. Moreover, fruit juice is not an adequate substitute because the fruit itself contains more fiber and vitamins than juices, which are usually high in sugar and contain preservatives.

Hu says primary school students should be encouraged to eat one or two fruits every day. Because many students found they didn't have time to eat fruit before breakfast or in the evening, they should be encouraged to take fruit to school and eat it during class breaks. Finally, she suggests that parents encourage their children to eat fruit, instead of forcing them.

Ma Guansheng, deputy director of the CDC's Nutrition and Food Safety Institution, says: "6-12 years old is a crucial time for physical development. Children at this age need an adequate and balanced nutritional supply to guarantee the normal growth of the body."

taken from : China Daily

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