Thanks to funding from Hort Innovation, CSIRO has brought together researchers from Flinders University and Nutrition Australia to deliver an integrated national approach to improving Australian children's vegetable consumption, through education of children, training for educators and engagement with industry.

The challenge

Encouraging children to eat more vegetables

Results from consecutive Australian Health Surveys have shown that children are not consuming enough vegetables. In fact, they are a long way off meeting the daily requirements, with current estimates suggesting that only five percent of Australian children are consuming the recommended serves of vegetables each day.

Australia's leading experts in nutrition have come together to increase children's vegetable consumption

Setting good eating behaviours as a child is essential to forming the basis of good eating behaviours and preventing negative health outcomes during childhood and later in life. That is why Australia’s leading nutrition experts have come together to help address this significant issue.

Our response

VegKIT: developing tools and interventions to increase vegetable intake by Australian Kids

Our research scientists are leading a five-year project, VegKIT, in partnership with Flinders University, leaders in child nutrition research and Nutrition Australia a large-scale nutrition service provider.

The five-year project will deliver six key activities:

  • Activity 1: Best practice guidelines to increase vegetable intake.
  • Activity 2: A national on-line register of initiatives to increase vegetable intake.
  • Activity 3: Further development and coordination of the Vegetable Intake Strategic Alliance (VISA).
  • Activity 4: Updated dietary advice for maternal, infant and early years, using evidence based knowledge of flavour exposure and food preference development, to facilitate children's vegetable intake.
  • Activity 5: Initiatives in the community (for long day-care settings) to increase children's vegetable intake.
  • Activity 6: Supply chain initiatives (industry innovations and early primary school settings) to increase children's vegetable intake.

The VegKIT project is funded by Hort Innovation, the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

An info graphic which outlines the activities being undertaken as part of the VegKIT project.

VegKit: developing tools and interventions to increase vegetable intake by Australian kids.

Australia's leading expert in nutrition have come together to increase children's vegetable consumption.

There are five steps included:

  1. Setting the scene
    • We value the health of children and there future.
    • It's estimated that only five per cent of Australian children are consuming the recommended serves of vegetables.
    • Australia's leading nutrition experts have come together for a new five year project to help address the significant under consumption of vegetables by Australian children.
    • Hort Innovation has funded researchers from CSIRO, Flinders University and Nutrition Australia to deliver a national approach to improving vegetable consumption, through education of children, training for educators and engagement with industry
  2. Translating the research
    • We'll review the latest evidence and findings to develop best-practice guidelines for a range of stakeholders including educators, health practitioners and researchers to increase vegetable intake.
  3. Foundation for policy
    • Update dietary advice for maternal, infant and early years, using evidence based knowledge of flavour exposure and food preference development, to facilitate vegetable acceptance.
  4. Increase knowledge, co-ordinate efforts and influence policy
    • A national online register of initiatives for the community to increase children's vegetable intake.
    • Development an coordination of Vegetable Intake Strategic Alliance (VISA) made up of cross-sector stakeholders.
  5. Interventions
    • Initiatives in the community (for long day-care settings) to increase children's vegetable intake.
    • Supply chain initiatives (industry innovations and early Primary school settings) to increase children's intake.

Collaborators logos

  • Flinders University
  • Nutrition Australia
  • Hort Innovation
  • Healthy Kids Association
  • Perfection Fresh
  • Thomas Farms Kitchen.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the vegetable research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian Horticulture.

VegKIT - developing tools and interventions to increase vegetable intake by Australian kids

The results

Increased advocacy, leadership and knowledge sharing

Bringing together science and industry, we are working with Hort Innovation, Flinders University and Nutrition Australia to drive a national and integrated approach to increasing Australian children's vegetable consumption.

This large scale, long-term project is currently progressing, and we look forward to sharing our achievements throughout the course of the VegKIT project as milestones are reached in each of the six project activities.

Our collaborators

  • Flinders University
  • Nutrition Australia
  • Hort Innovation
  • Healthy Kids Association
  • Perfection Fresh
  • Thomas Farms Kitchen.

To find out more about the VegKIT project or to get involved please contact David Cox: david.cox@csiro.au

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