Are worldwide efforts to promote fruit and vegetable consumption effective enough?

Despite numerous policy interventions to promote fruit and vegetable consumption, daily intake of fruit and vegetables is still below recommended levels worldwide. In a recent review published in the peer-reviewed journal Appetite, researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia, present an overview of the major campaigns of the last two decades, that have aimed to promote a long-term and sustainable increase in fruit and vegetable intake. The impact of these initiatives was low to modest and the authors identify recommendations to help promote future approaches in achieving a more significant behavioural change in the broader population.

Across the world fruit and vegetable intake has repeatedly been reported at lower than the 400g recommended per day, increasing the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. There are several different campaigns to increase fruit and vegetable consumption across the world. According to this review while some do increase overall consumption, others increase awareness but not consumption.

The review also looked at the factors which influence fruit and vegetable consumption and these include: Price, seasonality, perishability, nutritional content, origin, accessibility and variety. To increase the effectiveness of future interventions, all these factors should be taken into account when designing and implementing campaigns to promote fruit and vegetable intake.

The researchers found that holistic approaches and intensive long-term campaigns that communicate simple, unambiguous messages through many different channels and involve the whole family in an interactive way were most effective. In addition ensuring economic support through subsidies, reduced taxes, increased accessibility and availability could all help increase the effectiveness of future interventions.

Posted: 28/08/2014 10:25:15 by Laura Keaver


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