The "five-a-day" target for fruit and vegetable consumption should be revised because it is unaffordable for many Britons, says, the new leader of Britain's 50,000 family doctors.
Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard became chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said in her first interview, "For people that have got a low income five-a-day is really, really hard. It's expensive to have five-a-day. I get my five-a-day, no problem, but for many people they can't afford that five-a-day." Fruit and vegetables should be reduced in price to encourage greater uptake, she said.
‘As part of the daily recommendations, five servings of fruits and vegetables is termed ideal for overall health but, the price of fruits and vegetables might make it impossible for many.’
AdvertisementIn general, consumption targets that people find unachievable or unrealistic should be rethought because they demoralize those who do not achieve them, Stokes-Lampard said.
Lawrence Haddad, executive director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, in response said that he didn't think the five-a-day target should be scrapped.
"I am mindful of the demoralization argument and I think there is some validity to that. But if you give up on the goal, you're kind of admitting defeat," he said.
"I'm not convinced that [people] can't afford the five fruits and vegetables, I haven't seen solid evidence for that.
There are lots of different fruits and vegetables out there and it doesn't mean your five fruits and vegetables have to be very expensive ones."
Mr Haddad said supermarkets should drop restrictions on irregularly-shaped vegetables and could sell them at a reduced price, as they have the same nutritional value as "perfect"-looking ones.
He also said more agricultural research funding should be used to increase the efficiency of fruit and vegetables production, and that more could be done to promote healthy-eating habits.
"There's scope for lots of creativity for making fruits and vegetables attractive and desirable," he said. "Celebrity chefs could be doing a lot to make boring stuff more attractive."
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