Public eats 2.5 a day, study finds

The average person eats just 2.5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, instead of the recommended five portions.

This is the finding of a new report by TNS, commissioned by the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC).

The research also found that, without a dramatic change in eating habits, it could take another 25 years for consumers to meet the recommended five portions a day.

Around 60 per cent of people in the UK eat just two or fewer servings of fruit and vegetables a day.

Children, however, are eating more fresh produce - which FPC believes is an indication that initiatives like the School Fruit & Vegetable Scheme are having a positive impact on youngsters' health.

FPC wants to see the scheme developed to cover older schoolchildren, with the UK Government taking advantage of new EU funding opportunities.

The European Commission last week proposed a EUR90m (£72m)-a-year, EU-wide scheme to provide free fruit and vegetables to school children. The proposal is now on its way to the European Council and European Parliament and, if approved, would begin at the start of the 2009/2010 school year.

FPC chief executive Nigel Jenney said: "An ambitious programme is needed to tackle public health issues. The School Fruit & Vegetable Scheme is encouraging young children to form good eating habits. Since its introduction there has been a great increase in consumption among six to 10 year-olds.

"We want the UK Government to seize opportunities such as the EU funding proposal to fund further school initiatives in order to expand the highly successful scheme."


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