OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Health officials say Oklahoma children are not getting enough fruits and vegetables in their daily diets, according to a new study.

‘Variations in Fruit, Vegetable, and Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Intake Among Young Children by State, United States 2021’ analyzed data from the 2021 National Survey of Children’s Health.

The survey found that many young children between one and 5-years-old are not eating fruits and vegetables daily and are regularly drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.

“This information shows us where there is a gap,” said Fahad Khan, OSDH’s Community Analysis and Linkages Director. “In order to close the gap and improve diet quality, efforts must focus on ways to increase availability, accessibility, and affordability of fruits and vegetables. Food insecurity definitely plays a role in the data inside of this report.”

According to the study, 37.5% of Oklahoma children did not eat a daily fruit during the previous week. Also, 57.5% did not eat a daily vegetable during the previous week, and 72.6% drank a sugar-sweetened drink at least once a week.

“Healthy eating is crucial to help prevent our kids from developing chronic disease and obesity. We know that creating healthy lifestyles that lead to a prosperous life, start at a young age,” said Shelly Patterson, OSDH’s Chronic Disease Prevention Director.

Officials say Oklahoma ranks among worst in the nation when it comes to food insecurity, 45th for child food insecurity, and 46th for overall food insecurity rate.