About 80 percent of people in the nation do not get the recommended daily dose of fruit and vegetables, the Department of Health’s Bureau of Health Promotion said yesterday.
The department recommends at least two servings of fruit — each serving being about the size of an adult’s fist — and three servings — at 300g per serving — of vegetables each day.
The bureau said a telephone survey conducted last year with 16,985 valid samples found that only 18 percent of respondents consumed at least two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables on a daily basis.
The survey found the percentage of women who eat at least two servings of fruit (33.6 percent) or three servings of vegetables (44.5 percent) every day was slightly higher than men’s, at 23.4 percent and 42.3 percent respectively.
According to a WHO fact sheet, “approximately 1.7 million [2.8 percent] of deaths worldwide are attributable to low fruit and vegetable consumption” and “low fruit and vegetable intake is among the top 10 selected risk factors for global mortality.”
The fact sheet also estimates that 14 percent of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, about 11 percent of ischaemic heart disease deaths and about 9 percent of stroke deaths worldwide were caused by an insufficient intake of fruit and vegetables.
As a group, housewives have the highest percentage of people meeting the bureau’s recommended intake — 23.2 percent — while students have the lowest percentage, 11.3 percent.
The bureau said local governments have tried various ways to promote the intake of the daily requirement, including giving discounts at certain restaurants, encouraging people to grow fruit and vegetables on idle land or sponsoring farmers’ markets on weekends.