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The Government recommends an intake of at least five portions of fruit or vegetables per person per day to help reduce the risk of some cancers, heart disease and many other chronic conditions.

Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is a national priority.

Cancer and coronary heart disease account for 60% of all early deaths. A key feature of the Government's prevention strategy to reduce early deaths from these diseases is action to improve diet and nutrition.

The NHS Plan, The NHS Cancer Plan and the National Service Frameworks for Coronary Heart Disease, Diabetes and Older People all highlight diet and nutrition as a key area for action. This includes action to reduce fat, sugar and salt in the diet, and to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

Current recommendations are that everyone should eat at least 5 portions of a variety fruit and vegetables each day, to reduce the risks of cancer and coronary heart disease and many other chronic diseases. Yet average fruit and vegetable consumption among the population in England is less than 3 portions a day. Consumption tends to be lower among children and people on low incomes.

The main barriers to eating more fruit and vegetables are:

  • Access and availability – whether people have access to good quality, affordable fruit and vegetables locally
  • Attitudes and awareness – awareness of the 5 A DAY message, and people’s knowledge, attitudes, motivation and skills concerning buying, preparing and eating fruit and vegetables.

The government led 5 A DAY programme aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by:

  • Raising awareness of the health benefits
  • Improving access to fruit and vegetables through targeted action



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