Attitude to fruit and veg ‘risking health’

Many adults in Scotland eat less than half the recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables, despite worrying about how their diet affects their health.
Many adults in Scotland eat less than half the recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables, despite worrying about how their diet affects their health.

Most adults in Scotland worry about how their diet will affect their health, but more than three in four (76 per cent) are still failing to eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, a survey by the National Charity Partnership has found.

With rising levels of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease – two conditions associated with poor diet – the National Charity Partnership, a collaboration between Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Tesco, is urging people to take action now to reduce their risk of developing these conditions in the future.

Babs Evans, Head of Prevention for the National Charity Partnership, said: “Hundreds of thousands of people are already living with either Type 2 diabetes or heart and circulatory disease in Scotland. They are potentially life-threatening conditions, but also largely preventable. A healthy diet is known to help people reduce their risk, but many of us can struggle with this. However, if our eating habits don’t change to include more healthy options like fruit and vegetables, the UK as a whole could be heading towards a major health crisis.”

The partnership has published a series of 22 healthy recipes designed to boost people’s intake of fruit and vegetables in a simple and easy manner. All recipes are available for free through the partnership’s online motivational tool, which helps people set simple, realistic goals for a healthier lifestyle.

The National Charity Partnership is also investing in a series of Holiday Lunch Clubs in North Lanarkshire to support families to change their eating habits for the better. Launched earlier this year, the clubs are helping parents to think about the foods they eat and how they can make small changes towards a healthier lifestyle.

Speaking about the North Lanarkshire Holiday Lunch Clubs, Katherine Hale, prevention programme manager for the National Charity Partnership, said: “We’re proud to be bringing these holiday lunch clubs to North Lanarkshire. We’ve developed a programme of activity for the area that is specifically designed to provide families with information, skills and support to help them reduce their risk of both Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease.

“We’re already seeing how much of a difference these clubs are making to the health of the local community and we hope that the information and skills that parents and carers learn at our holiday lunch clubs will be passed down to benefit future generations too.”

The survey commissioned by the National Charity Partnership, which interviewed 2,000 people across the UK, discovered that more than one in three adults in Scotland (36 per cent) only consume one or two portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Almost one in four (24 per cent) said they simply forget to eat more while 18 per cent said it costs too much money and 12 per cent said it’s not convenient. Almost four in ten (37 per cent) adults in Scotland also admitted that they hardly ever buy healthy versions of food. This is despite more than six in ten (61 per cent) saying they worry about how their diet will affect their health.

The National Charity Partnership is working to help millions of people adopt better eating habits and look after their bodies. Its suite of recipes and holiday lunch clubs are part of its two-year Let’s Do This campaign, which aims to support adults to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease by taking small steps towards healthier lifestyles.

For more information about Let’s Do This, please visit: http://www.lets-dothis.org.uk