Scots eating fewer fruit and vegetables, survey finds

Scottish Health Survey finds adults consumed an average of three portions a day.

Fruit and veg: Thousands of Scots were surveyed. <strong>Pam Brophy</strong>
Fruit and veg: Thousands of Scots were surveyed. Pam Brophy

The average amount of fruit and vegetables eaten by Scots has declined in recent years, a major survey has found.

The Scottish Health Survey found adults consumed an average of three portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

It is the lowest level of consumption since the data started being gathered in 2003.

Almost 4500 Scottish households were selected at random as part of the survey.

Experts recommend eating five portions of fruit an vegetables each day.

Previous surveys had found adults consumed between 3.1 and 3.3 portions of fruit and vegeatebles a day.

The figures for 2016 found average consumption was at 3.0 a day for Scottish adults, the lowest recorded so far.

For men, the number stood at 2.8 portions of fruit and vegetables a day on average.

The number of adults eating five portions a day was at 20%, a “significant decrease” from 23% in 2009, the report’s authors said.

A significant drop in consumption of non-diet soft drinks was recorded, with the number of Scots eating biscuits daily also down.

Among adults, consumption of sugary drinks fell from 27% in 2014 to 20% in 2016.

Public health minister Aileen Campbell highlighted the number of children who were physically active was increasing.

More than three-quarters of children met guidelines for physical activity levels, up from 71% in 2008.

Campbell said: “We are working to create a culture where people eat and feel well, have a healthy weight and children learn good habits for life.

“Eating and feeling well can go hand in hand with being physically active. There is a welcome increase in the number of children who are physically active, which we’re championing through our ambition to make Scotland the world’s first Daily Mile nation.

“We are also putting active travel at the heart of transport planning by doubling investment in walking and cycling to £80m next year.

She added: “While the survey found a positive shift in the adult consumption of non-diet soft drinks, biscuits and oily fish, as a nation we want to go further to address unhealthy diets and increase physical activity.

“There is no quick fix, but we can act decisively.”

She said the Scottish Government would soon launch a consultation on a new strategy to tackle obesity.

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