News

Push to get Aussies to eat more fruits and vegetables

By Country News

Leading health professionals and horticulture industry groups are advocating for Australians to eat more fruit and vegetables by launching the Fruit & Vegetable Consortium.

The Fruit & Vegetable Consortium was formed in response to low rates of fruit and vegetable consumption in Australia.

Only half of Australian adults and two thirds of children have an adequate daily intake of fruit.

Australians also fall short of vegetable intake, with seven per cent of Australian adults and five per cent of children meeting the recommended daily intake.

More than 50 organisations have pledged their support to the cause.

Founding members include AUSVEG, the Cancer Council of Victoria, Heart Foundation, the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Melbourne Market, Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, the Good Foundation, the Produce Marketing Association of Australia — New Zealand and VicHealth.

Nutrition Australia chief executive officer and consortium chair Lucinda Hancock said lifting fruit and vegetable consumption was a critical step to improving the nutrition and health of the general public, and a way to reduce government expenditure.

“Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have been shown to protect against high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers,” Ms Hancock said.

“The job of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is too much for a single person or organisation.

“This consortium was born out of a common imperative to increase fruit and vegetable consumption with the aim of improving health outcomes for Australians and their families.”

AUSVEG chief executive officer James Whiteside said it was important growers work with others with the same goals to develop and promote programs that will meaningfully change behaviours to increase consumption of vegetables and fruits.

“Growers are deeply committed to increasing vegetable consumption among Australians of all ages and are keen to work alongside the food and health industries to improve the health and wellbeing of Australian men, women and children,” Mr Whiteside said.

“The health benefits of increasing vegetable consumption are well-documented, but the rates of consumption are still unacceptably low.

“We need to work together to pool our research, knowledge and passion to remedy this.”