Missing one's recommended daily intake of vegetables and fruits could be worse than abusing alcohol or drugs and unsafe sex on life expectancy.
It has been estimated that the minimum recommended daily intake is two pieces of fruit and five serves of vegetables at least.
According to the 2005 Total Victorian Health Report not eating enough fruit and vegetables accounted for a disability adjusted life years (DALY) rating of 3.3 per cent and the higher the DALY, the greater was the impact on one's lifespan.
The number of years saved by a health measure was estimated by the DALY and a value assigned to each year of life.
DALY ratings of alcohol abuse was 3.1 per cent while it was 1.5 percent for unsafe sex and illicit drugs.
The report revealed that only 7 per cent of Victorians over 18 at five or more vegetables a day.
Dietitian Kelly Neville said, "A strong correlation exists between a lack of fruit and vegetables and colon and lung cancer, obesity, and diabetes. Inadequate consumption of fruit and vegetables has also been identified as a risk factor in heart disease and strokes."
Ms Neville described how food habits have changed to fast food that are high in carbohydrates and low in vegetables compared to the 1950s when the most common meal was meat and three vegetables.
The Victorians did however fare better when it came to fruit. The report revealed that 51 per cent ate at least two or more pieces a day.