Time to address continued poor vegetable intake in Australia for prevention of chronic disease.
Sommaire de l'article
Australian and most international Dietary Guidelines recommend people consume more fruits and vegetables (F&V) to maintain a healthy weight and reduce chronic disease risk. Previous Australian and international surveys have shown sub-optimal consumption of F&V.
This study aimed to assess adults' F&V consumption, knowledge of recommended servings, readiness to change, barriers/enabling factors, so that this knowledge might be used for campaigns that support improved consumption.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
An online survey of a representative sample of adults living in New South Wales, Australia (n = 2474) measuring self-reported F&V consumption; attitudes towards F&V consumption; stage of change for increasing F&V; barriers to consumption; and knowledge of cancer-health benefits.
F&V consumption was below recommendations, with vegetable consumption notably low. Only 10% of participants ate at least five servings of vegetables/day (median intake was two daily servings), and 57% consumed two servings fruit/day. There was poor recognition that intake of vegetables was inadequate and this was a barrier to improving vegetable consumption; with preferences for other foods, habit and cost also important barriers. Key barriers to increasing fruit intake were habit, preferences for other foods, perishability, and cost. For vegetable consumption, 49% of participants were in the pre-contemplation stage of change, whereas for fruits 56% were in the action/maintenance stage. Sixty-four percent of respondents believed that eating F&V would protect against cancer, with 56% reporting they thought not eating enough F&V would cause cancer.
Understanding what motivates and prevents people from consuming F&V is important for developing effective health promotion programs. Similar to previous surveys, there has been little shift in F&V consumption. Social marketing campaigns have been shown to improve health-related behaviours, and this study may assist in identifying audience segmentation for better targeted campaigns.