Just one-in-five Brits are eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
That’s according to a poll for World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).
Nearly a decade after the Department of Health introduced the 5 a day campaign, a YouGov survey has shown that on average only 22% of the British adult population is consuming five or more portions a day.
The charity commissioned the survey to coincide with Cancer Prevention Week, which starts today (May 14) and culminates in Fruity Friday at the end of the week.
CRF head of education, Kate Mendoza, said: ‘These figures show that many people are still finding it difficult to follow the healthy eating message. Getting at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is the building block of a healthy diet. Not only are fruit and veg a good source of nutrients, they also tend to be low in calories and full of fibre so help us maintain a healthy weight.’
She added: ‘A lot of WCRF’s work focuses on raising awareness of the importance of diet, physical activity and body weight in relation to cancer risk. Although people are more aware of the significance of eating 5 a day than they used to be, it is clear that there are still barriers to incorporating plant foods into our daily diets.’
Fruity Friday is WCRF’s annual fundraising and awareness campaign to increase understanding of the links between diet, nutrition and cancer prevention. Scientists estimate that about a third of cancer cases could be avoided by people being more physically active, eating healthily and maintaining a healthy weight.
For Cancer Prevention Week, WCRF is encouraging people to eat ‘just one more’ portion of fruit or vegetables in a bid to boost consumption levels.
To highlight Fruity Friday, which involves hundreds of schools, businesses and individuals across the country, WCRF commissioned the survey into fruit and vegetable consumption.
The research showed, on average, that 17 per cent of lower income households (social groups C2, D and E) get at least five portions per day, compared to 27 per cent for those in higher income groups A, B and C1.
Around Britain, fruit and vegetable consumption levels were lowest in the north of England, where 18% answered that they had five or more portions daily.
The highest levels of consumption were reported in the south of England, where 26% said they ate at least five portions.
Figures elsewhere were 21% for London, 22% for Scotland, 23% for both the Midlands and Wales and 24% for the Eastern England.
Details of this year’s Fruity Friday campaign can be found at www.fruityfriday.org.