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Kids love apples but are they the best fruit?

A recent survey has found that kids eat more apples and drink more apple juice compared to any other fruit. So should parents throw in the towel and rely on apples?

apple fruit
"Fuji apple" by Scott Bauer, USDA ARS

Looking to get your kids to eat more fruit? Statistically speaking, there’s no safer bet than apples, which are by far and away the most commonly consumed fruit among children. In fact, even though the average grocery store can contain dozens of different types of fruit, the apple alone accounts for about 29 percent of all fruit that is consumed.

Two thirds of that amount consists of plain old apples, while one third is consumed in the form of apple juice. Interestingly, the love for apples seems to be universal and has been widely observed across all ethnic groups.

Regular apples account for 21.2 percent of daily fruit intake among latinos, 18.5 percent among caucasians, 17.2 percent among African Americans, and 19.2 percent among Asians. Add in apple juice and the numbers rise by 9.8 percent, 10.4 percent, 10.5 percent, and 7.7 percent, respectively.

Researchers discovered the preference for apples after conducting the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. As part of the survey 3,129 children were interviewed and asked to recall what they ate and drank during the last 24 hours.

Given the design of the survey it is possible that other factors impacted the consumption of apples. Parents, for example, may be more likely to buy apples because they are cheaper, or seasonal differences in the selection of fruit may have had an impact.

The survey found that fruit juice generally accounted for about one third of all fruit consumption among children. While fruit juice can be a healthier option than some drinks, such as sugary colas, experts warn that it is not as nutritional as regular fruit.

Nutrition-wise, apples might not be the best choice. Compared to other fruits, apples are relatively low in their vitamin content and high in sugar. Apples are a pretty good source of vitamin c, but other fruits like oranges are much better. Apples are a good source of dietary fiber. Apples can be part of a regular diet, but parents (and individuals) would be wise to diversify.