Australians eat less than half the recommended daily intake of vegetables

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th March 2014
Australians eat less than half the recommended daily intake of vegetables

The average vegetable consumption of Australian adults is only half the recommended intake, based on guidelines published by the National Health and Medical Research Council, according to findings from vegetable and potato growers representative body AusVeg.

The survey of 675 Australian vegetable consumers showed adults were consuming an average of only 2.5 serves of vegetables per day, which is half the recommended daily intake for adults of 5 to 6 serves.

“Also of concern was that the consumers that had kids stated their children were only consuming an average of 2.4 serves of vegetables per day, which is in the lower range of the vegetable intake recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council of 2 to 5 serves,” said Andrew White, AusVeg Manager of Industry Development and Communications.

AusVeg said the consumer survey, which was funded through Horticulture Australia Limited using the National Vegetable Levy and matched by funds from the Australian Government, should be a “wake-up call” for many Australians who need to eat a more balanced diet.

“Eating a range of different coloured vegetables may be an easy way to access a higher intake of proteins, iron, some essential fatty acids, dietary fibres, micronutrients, folate and complex carbohydrates, and can also be an enjoyable way to cook and eat,” Mr White said.

AusVeg said the survey results indicated that there was “a lot more” Australians could do for their families to reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. High consumption of vegetables has been associated with a range of health benefits, including reduced risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, morbidity and some forms of cancer. AusVeg said taking simple steps to increase the daily intake of fresh vegetables could be a way to reduce the risk of developing health problems.

Do vegetable producers need to step up the marketing?

In December 2013, Australian Food News reported on a new website called ‘Veggycation’ that aimed to educate Australian consumers, children, teachers and the vegetable industry about the health benefits of vegetables.

The project, funded by Horticulture Australia and matched by funds from the Australian Government, was undertaken by Plant and Food Research Australia Hobart-based MacTavish:West. One of the key outcomes of the project was the interpretation of over 200 pre-approved health claims relevant to vegetables, which can be used on-pack and are intended to be more user-friendly for consumers.