No fruit and veg in 10 per cent of Lothian diets

It is argued we should eat seven portions of fruit and veg a day. ''Picture: Robert Perry
It is argued we should eat seven portions of fruit and veg a day. ''Picture: Robert Perry
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ALMOST one in ten people in the Lothians eats no fruit or vegetables, according to official figures.

And over half of all Edinburgh adults are either overweight or obese.

Today a new drive was launched to promote healthier eating habits among the region’s population.

Edible Edinburgh is a campaign that brings together the NHS, city council and voluntary groups in a bid to change public attitudes to food and encourage people to buy more local produce and grow their own fruit and veg.

Statistics cited by the campaign show more than two-thirds of people across the Lothians eat less than the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day – and eight per cent eat none at all.

Chris Mantle, food and health development worker at Edinburgh Community Food (ECF), said he was not surprised by the figures.

He said: “The National Diet and Nutrition Survey regularly finds Scottish intakes to be well below the national target of at least five a day. The average is something like two pieces a day, with many people eating fewer or none.

“Fruit and vegetables should, according to the Food Standards Agency ‘Eat well’ plate, make up a third of our diet. Some argue five portions are inadequate and that we should aim for a minimum of seven or even more.

“Fruit and vegetables provide many vitamins and minerals which are vital for our immune systems and the overall healthy functioning of our bodies.”

ECF are creating a network of ten food co-ops across the city to reach communities most at risk of health inequalities.

Launching Edible Edinburgh, council environment convener Lesley Hinds said: “We all know that a nutritious diet, including plenty of cereals, fruit and vegetables, is essential for a good start in life, and to stay healthy later on. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to affordable fresh and healthy food, and we are determined to change that in Edinburgh.”

Leith mother-of-two Sally Fraser, 31, who is involved in the community croft on Leith Links, set up to encourage local people to grow vegetables, said: “I’m on a tight budget myself so I know it’s difficult when prices are going up. If there is the ability to grow them yourself and get the amount you want, that has to be a good thing.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com