NUTRITION Australia is calling for partners in the fresh produce chain for a national push to lift vegetable consumption.
The non-government, non-profit, community-based organisation is looking to ramp up the "Try for 5" campaign which encourages Australians to increase their vegetable consumption to five serves per day.
According to Nutrition Australia, just 4 per cent of Australians eat the recommended amount of
vegetables each day, with the average person eating just half as much as they should.
Children aged between two and 18 years old averaged 1.8 serves per day and less than 1pc usually consumed their recommended number of vegetable serves.
Try for 5 will be launched and heavily promoted during National Nutrition Week from October 15-21, the organisation's annual healthy eating awareness campaign, which coincides with the United Nations’ World Food Day (October 16).
National Nutrition Week coordinator, Vikki Leng, said as the entire focus of the campaign was to increase vegetable consumption, Nutrition Australia was looking to partner with members of the vegetable industry including growers, wholesalers, retailers and associated fresh produce businesses.
"During National Nutrition Week we will initiate our dedicated Try for 5 media/PR and social media campaigns to lead everyone to our Try for 5 web hub featuring a range of downloadable resources from Nutrition Australia and its partners," Ms Leng said.
"The Hub will also feature news of community events conducted in each state.
"We are working with campaign partners to conduct a range of co-promotional activities that engage consumers and inspire them to enjoy more vegetables more often such as retail markets.
"This dedicated Try for 5 Hub will remain live for 12 months."
Nutrition Australia figures show lifting vegetable consumption results in significant health benefits for Australians with an increase of just one serve of vegetables a day reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by 4pc.
The risk of stroke decreases by 11pc for every 200g per day increment in vegetable consumption.
If vegetable consumption was 10pc higher, its estimated the government health expenditure would reduce by $99.9 million.
Nutrition Australia chief executive officer- Victorian Division, Lucinda Hancock, said there was no one reason as to why people do not eat more vegetables.
"Factors influencing food selection including selection of vegetables are complex," Ms Hancock said.
"Price, nutritional value and mood (how you feel) are the leading influences on food selection and consumption.
"Many families are time poor and see convenience options as an easy way to feed their family and sadly many of these options contain little vegetables.
"Additionally we know that many people have difficulty in preparing, cooking and storing vegetables and therefore will steer away from purchasing vegetables that they are unfamiliar with.
"Without having the knowledge of what a vegetable is and how to use and store it you are naturally less likely to purchase it."
She said other barriers to consuming vegetables include habit, taste and preference and there appears to be a direct link to increased consumption of vegetables and consumption of vegetables in childhood.
"We need to inspire and provide the support Australians to eat more vegetables and this is why the Try for 5 campaign is so important," Ms Hancock said.
- To find out more contact Vikki Leng at Nutrition Australia on 0411 647 275 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org