Many Canadians don’t meet daily fruit, vegetable targets

January 10, 2012 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition Topics in the News

Many Canadians don’t meet daily fruit, vegetable targets

Adults from 30 to 60 years old, especially those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, aren't consuming the daily recommended levels of fruits and vegetables. Quebecers, however, eat more of nature's produce than their fellow Canadians.

These are some of the findings of a new Concordia University study, published in Nutrition Journal, which sheds light on who reaches in their refrigerator often enough to gain the health benefits of a fruit- and vegetable-rich diet.

The study found that people from the Atlantic to the western provinces consume fruits and vegetables less often than Quebecers.

The researchers analyzed data collected from almost 94,000 people, aged 18 to 69 years, from the Canadian Community Health Survey. They looked at factors such as gender, education, income, marital and smoking status to reveal differences in how often people of various backgrounds consume fruits and vegetables.

People with low education and low income ate fruits and vegetables less frequently -- about 4.5 times per day. Individuals with higher education and income, for their part, ate produce a little over five times per day.

Men, singles, smokers, people in their 40s and households with no children, for example, reached for the fruit bowl less often. The research team also found that:

  • Quebecers went to the fridge for produce more often than their counterparts in any other province.
  • Women tended to munch on fruit and vegetables more frequently (5.4 times a day) than men (4.5 times).
  • Those who have a weak social network didn't have as much appetite for fruit and vegetables as those who have strong networks of friends.
  • People with a higher level of education ate carrots and apples more frequently -- regardless of other demographic and lifestyle factors.

Eating a daily minimum of 7 servings of fruits and vegetables is proven to have a slew of health benefits including reducing the risks of diabetes, stroke, obesity and high blood pressure.

Despite this evidence, fruit and vegetable consumption for most people is below the daily recommended value. The researchers suggest that people may be encouraged to eat more broccoli and berries by raising their awareness of the health benefits through media and community-based nutrition programs, as well as through government subsidies of such produce.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.