The World Health Organisation estimates that 2.8% of deaths worldwide are attributable to low fruit and vegetable consumption. Young adults, in particular, tend to consume less than the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables.
In a study we published last month, Karl Peltzer and Supa Pengpid investigate the prevalence of fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as various factors associated with it in a large sample (n=17,789) of university students (mean age 20.8 years) coming from 26 countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas.
The main result of this questionnaire-based study can be summarised as follows:
– 82.8% of the young adults included in this study consumed less than the recommended 5 daily servings of fruit and vegetable.
– There was a large variation between countries, ranging from <2.5 mean daily servings for students in Jamaica, Philippines and Barbados to >3.9 mean daily servings for students in Mauritius, Tunisia and Ivory Coast.
– The highest insufficient prevalence of fruit and vegetable consumption was observed in the Caribbean and South America, whereas the highest sufficient intake in Asia.
– There were no differences between male and female students.
– There was a strong association between lower socioeconomic status and low fruit and vegetable consumption.
– Living in campus was associated with lower consumption compared to living with one’s parents.
– Various sociodemographic, psychosocial and behavioural factors were associated with low fruit and vegetable consumption.
– Unhealthy dietary behaviours were co-occured with inadequate consumption and so did binge drinking and low physical activity.
The authors stress the need for intervention programmes aiming at increased fruit and vegetable consumption, that would consider the identified risk factors.
What do you think? How could young adults be motivated to eat more fruit and vegetable?