Crunching the Numbers on Childhood Nutrition

This infographic illustrates a healthy diet for children and identifies the factors that directly influence their access to nutritional food.

The USDA recommends that children older than two years of age follow a daily diet that includes:

  • Fresh, whole fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • A variety of protein
  • Healthy fats
  • Low-fat and fat-free dairy products
  • Whole grains

When we think of child nutrition, we imagine balanced meals and colorful food pyramids like the diet outlined above, but it’s important to focus on the factors outside the kitchen that influence the food on the table.

What factors into a child’s diet?


  • 19.7 percent of children live below poverty level
  • Average cost of school lunch is $2.32
  • 73 percent of meals in the National School Lunch Program are free or reduced price


  • 6.5 million children live in food deserts
  • Families with children are approximately 52 percent more likely than households without children to be food insecure


  • 99 percent of public and secondary schools participate in nutrition education.
  • .52 more cups of fruits and vegetables were consumed daily per person, after participation in a SNAP-Ed initiative.
  • 86 percent of schools report receiving nutrition lesson materials from the food industry.
  • 20 percent of districts or states require ninth- and tenth-grade nutrition education.

What can FNPs do?

  • Be aware of the available nutrition programs in their communities
  • Refer families with school-aged students to a school nutrition program administrator
  • Become a resources and team member for school nutrition programs

Visit for more information about childhood nutrition and poverty.




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