ONLY about five per cent of children in NSW eat enough vegetables.
So, in an effort to change this statistic, primary schools across the state - including Aberdeen Public - came together last Thursday to encourage students and their families to eat more with Vegetable Week and The Big Vegie Crunch.
The initiative is an annual health promotion conducted in term one.
It's also part of the Crunch&Sip NSW program and is funded by NSW Health.
The week-long event provides free resources to primary school teachers that promote vegetables to students, and culminates in The Big Vegie Crunch, a record-breaking attempt for simultaneous vegetable eating.
Since its inception in 2016, participation numbers in "the Crunch" have been steadily growing and, in 2018, 50,260 children across 302 schools crunched vegetables at the same time.
A further 11,939 students chomped at another time over the week.
That's a whole lot of vegetable eating.
This year, about 200 youngsters from Aberdeen Public joined with tens of thousands of other primary school students from across NSW to all crunch on vegies at the same time and attempt to break the 2018 record.
At the same time, this experience helped increase the pupils' knowledge, exposure and positive attitudes towards the vegetables.
Katie Booth from the Healthy Kids Association, who is the project manager of Vegetable Week and The Big Vegie Crunch, says the fun, interactive, school-based events can help to influence the variety and amount of vegies kids choose to eat.
"It is recommended that kids between the ages of 4 and 12 eat around five serves of vegies each day," she explained.
"There are a lot of reasons why so many children are not getting to eat enough - perhaps they don't have access, they don't like the taste, they get bored with the lack of variety, or they simply lack the knowledge to make good choices about food.
"However, events like this in the school setting, combined with positive peer influence and education around food, can improve awareness and help kids to try different types of vegies.
"At Healthy Kids, we like to encourage kids to 'Eat The Rainbow' which is one of the best ways to ensure kids are getting the different vitamins and minerals, which are packed into vegetables of different colours.
"The aim of this event is not only to get kids excited about breaking a record, but to encourage them to try different vegies every day."
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