A report released has found if Australians ate just 10 per cent more vegetables per day, all levels of government could reap $100 million per year combined in health savings.
Commissioned by Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) and delivered by Deloitte Access Economics, the report also revealed that more than 90 per cent of Australians fail to eat the recommended intake of vegetables per day.
Currently, the average Australian is eating just 2.3 serves of vegetables per day, far short of the recommended five serves or 375 grams.
Hort Innovation Chief Executive John Lloyd said the research indicates the nation could benefit significantly if the current intake of 174 grams was boosted to just 190 grams.
“If Australians ate just a handful more of broccoli or two extra carrots per week they would reduce their risk of some cancers and cardiovascular disease,” he said.
“In economic terms, based on detailed modelling, all levels of government would also stand to benefit through an estimated $100 million in health expenditure savings per year combined.
“On top of this, a 10 per cent increase in national vegetable consumption would further support vegetable growers nationally with an estimated $23 million per year in additional profit.”
The report also showed:
- Men eat fewer vegetables than women, with 3.8 per cent of males consuming adequate vegetables compared to 10.2 per cent of females.
- Internationally, Australia was ranked 63rd in the world by apparent consumption of vegetables per capita.
- Tasmanians are Australia’s highest vegetable consumers but still only 12 per cent of the local population are consuming the recommended daily intake.
- Vegetable consumption generally increases with age, peaking among 75-84-year-olds.
- ‘Fruiting vegetables’ such as corn and pumpkin are the top vegetables consumed by Australians (excluding potatoes).
Horticulture Innovation Australia delivers more than $100 million in research, development and marketing activities across the horticulture industry each year with funding from the Australian Government, grower levies and other sources.