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Fruit and vegetable availability among ten European countries:how does it compare with the ‘five-a-day’ recommendation?*

  • Androniki Naska (a1), Vassilis G. S. Vasdekis (a2), Antonia Trichopoulou (a1), Sharon Friel (a3), Ingrid U. Leonhäuser (a4), Olga Moreiras (a5), Michael Nelson (a6), Anne M. Remaut (a7), Anette Schmitt (a8), Wlodzimierz Sekula (a9), Kerstin U. Trygg (a10), Gábor Zajkás (a11) and DAFNE I and II projects of the European Commission...

Abstract

Recasting the role of fruit and vegetables (F&V) in the diet, and planning national and international campaigns to enhance their consumption are major public health service objectives. The present study seeks to describe F&V availability patterns in ten European countries and examine compliance with current recommendations. The mean and median F&V availability (g/person per d) was estimated based on household budget survey data retrieved from the Data Food Networking (DAFNE) databank. Low F&V consumers were identified based on WHO international recommendations (minimum combined F&V intake of about 400 g/person per d) and current conservative guidelines of a minimum daily intake of three portions of vegetables and two portions of fruit. Considerable disparities in F&V availability were found among the surveyed European populations. Only in Mediterranean countries did the mean daily population intake clearly exceed combined F&V recommendations. Dietary patterns were positively skewed in all populations studied, on account of the presence of exceptionally high values among segments of the populations. Moreover, the correlation was unexpectedly weak between the proportion of low fruit and low vegetable consumers (Spearman's correlation coefficient +0·18). More than 50 % of the households in the surveyed populations are likely to consume less than the recommended daily vegetable intake of three portions, and this applies even to the two Mediterranean populations. The efficiency of F&V promoting strategies may be enhanced if F&V are addressed separately; furthermore, interventions that would specifically focus on vegetables are probably needed.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Corresponding author: Dr Antonia Trichopoulou, fax +30 1 7488 902, email antonia@nut.uoa.gr

Footnotes

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*

The German household budget survey data used in the DAFNE project (German contract database) do not necessarily correspond to the non-anonymised statistical microdata from which the contract database was prepared. The British household budget survey data is Crown copyright. It has been made available by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) through the Data Archive, based at the University of Essex. Neither the ONS nor the Data Archive bear any responsibility for the analysis or interpretation of the data reported here.

Footnotes

References

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