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Many children from ages 1-5 not getting enough fruits and vegetables

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Half of the American children from the ages of 1-5 do not have a vegetable a day, and a third do not have a fruit a day, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

Former U.S. Surgeon General and WISH-TV medical expert Dr. Jerome Adams said patterns set early in childhood follow us throughout our lives; he says this study is disturbing.

‘”And if you’re not getting enough fruits and vegetables, your risk for high blood pressure, you’re at risk for heart attacks, you’re at risk for strokes, your risk for kidney disease, your risk for cancer are all going to be higher,” Adams said.

Indiana measures worse than the national average — 53% of children in this age group do not have a daily vegetable, while 43% do not have a daily fruit. When it comes to sugary drinks for kids ages 1-5, 66% of children in Indiana have one a week.

Stephen Cornelius, an Indianapolis father of a 16-month-old baby, said, “That’s crazy to me. We cut his apple juice when he has that sort of sugar. He’s definitely not having any sort of sodas, but I also understand it’s probably the most convenient thing.”

The CDC said having enough healthy fruits and vegetables and reducing refined sugars is essential for children’s growth and development. Cornelius and Adams are both worried about access to healthy food.

Cornelius said, “It’s very important for us to give him the stuff that he needs and we’re fortunately in the position to do that, but for folks that aren’t, that don’t have access to a nearby nice grocery store or car or public transportation I think it’s gotta be much harder.”

Adams said, “I believe in making good choices but not everyone has that opportunity if they don’t have a grocery store in their neighborhood or if they can’t afford fresh fruits and vegetables and drinks that aren’t sugary and sweet.”

Adams said education is a large component in changing these statistics.