5 A Day fails to boost fruit and veg intake

Brits are eating no more fruit and vegetables than they did almost a decade ago despite government campaigns to encourage people to eat more healthily.

The government’s latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) data shows little change in intake of fruit and vegetables over a nine year period between 2008 and 2017 with all age and sex groups consuming below the 5 A Day recommendation.

During that period, the government has spent millions promoting campaigns such as 5 A Day and Change 4 Life yet less than 20% of children aged 11 to 18 hit the 5 A Day target in 2017 and only around 40% of adults.

There was more positive news on sugar where sugar-sweetened soft drink intake among children aged 11 to 18 years dropped from around 285g/day to 185g/day over the nine year period. Free sugars intake in children also significantly decreased over time.

Consumption of red and processed meat is also showing a downward trend. For adults aged 19 to 64 years consumption declined by 19g over nine years, while children on average ate 15g less. Average consumption for adult men, however, remained above the recommended maximum of 70g/day.

NDNS data suggests that on average people on higher incomes eat healthier diets. Intake of fruit and vegetables increased with income in all age and sex groups except men aged 65 years and over. Higher earners also ate greater percentages of fruit juice and oily fish and less sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

The annual NDNS monitors the diets of a representative sample of 1000 people to build a picture of the diet, nutrient intake and nutritional status of the general UK population.

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