Alarming new survey finds quarter of Aussie kids think vegies originate from supermarket

Students Haylea Manuel, Colin Smith and, Dew Miletic. Pic: Crunchometer.
Students Haylea Manuel, Colin Smith and, Dew Miletic. Pic: Crunchometer.

IN the wake of shocking statistics revealing a quarter of Aussie kids believe fruit and vegies originate from the supermarket, 92 WA primary schools will crunch through thousands of fresh vegetables for The Great Vegie Crunch this month.

The event, coordinated by Cancer Council WA’s Crunch&Sip program, will see more than 26,000 WA primary school kids simultaneously crunch on fresh vegetables to see how loudly they can collectively crunch using a new app.

Teachers can use the Crunch&Sip app to measure the ‘crunchibels’ of the communal crunch and determine if it’s a ‘quokka chew’ or a roaring ‘crocodile crunch’.

Cancer Council WA regional education officer Mikala Atkinson said The Great Vegie Crunch aimed to make nutrition a fun and important part of the school curriculum.

“Over the years we’ve done a great job of encouraging kids to eat fruit, but the message hasn’t sunk in as well for veg,” she said.

Clayton View students Sebastian Hoy and Keith Boddington enjoy munching on their vegies at the annual Great Vegie Crunch. Pic: Great Vegie Crunch.

“Only one in six WA kids are eating enough vegies, meaning the vast majority are missing out on the nutrients they need for sustained health.”

In addition to a poor understanding of the origins of fresh fruit and veg, the NewsConnect survey released this week revealed only 22 per cent of kids aged six to eight can identify five to six vegetables in their raw state.

“These results are incredibly sad, and confirm the concerns we regularly hear from WA growers,” she said.

“We need to find more effective ways to engage kids in the food and nutrition process and treat this education with the same level of focus we provide subjects like English and maths.

“It doesn’t have to be a time-consuming thing – something as simple as including a Crunch&Sip break in the school day for students to eat a piece of veg provides an opportunity for a conversation to take place in the classroom.”

Mrs Atkinson said school vegie patches, like the one at Clayton View Primary were a fantastic way to engage students in the fresh produce process.

“Kids who have opportunities to explore, taste, cook and grow fruit and vegetables are more likely to have good long-term attitudes towards these foods, and develop healthy food habits that will continue into adulthood and prevent the risk of chronic disease,” she said.