Parents seem to realize their kids need to eat better—but they're not doing much about it.

A recent national poll of 1,767 parents of kids aged 4–18, conducted by C.S. Mott Children"s Hospital at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, found that while 97% of the grownups believed childhood eating habits have a lifelong impact on health, only 1 in 6 of them felt that their child's diet was very healthy.

What's fouling things up? Mostly cost, convenience and children's food preferences, the parents said. The poll also suggests that some parents may have given up: About 20% thought that limiting fast food and junk food and helping kids learn to eat different foods was not important or only somewhat important. Parents of teens tended to be less fretful about healthful eating strategies than parents of younger children.

This poll highlights the yawning gap between understanding the need for healthy childhood nutrition and raising children who actually eat healthy food. What about you: Have you solved the riddle of getting kids to try new—and nutritious—foods? How do you squeeze healthy eating into an incredibly busy life?