§ Ms Blears
[holding answer 20 January 2003]Increasing intakes of fruit and vegetables could reduce the risk of deaths from chronic disease, such as heart disease, stroke and cancer, by up to 20 per cent.
The two major spending programmes to promote consumption, the national school fruit scheme and local Five-a-day community initiatives, are being funded by the new opportunities fund which will be commissioning detailed evaluations of their effect on diet including consumption of fruit and vegetables.
§ Ms Blears
[holding answer 20 January 2003]: National trends in fruit and vegetable consumption since 2001 cannot as yet be fully ascertained due to the considerable time it takes to undertake dietary surveys and their analyses. The latest national food survey data shows that between 1999 and 2000, household weekly purchase of fruit and fruit juice continued to increase, from 1,063 g to 1,121 g, whereas household consumption of vegetables continued to decrease, from 1,095 g to 1,077 g. This information does not take account of wastage.
National evaluation of pilot five a day community Initiatives—one year intervention between 2000 and 2001—showed that the initiatives stemmed a fall in fruit and vegetable intakes. There was no overall change in fruit and vegetable intake in the intervention group but there was a fall in intake by almost half a portion in the control group. The intervention was found to have had a positive effect in people with the lowest intakes. Those who ate less than five a day at baseline increased their intakes by one portion over the course of the study.672W
Detailed information on fruit and vegetable intakes was collected as part of the Health Survey for England for the first time during 2002. The collection of this information in future years will allow an examination of national trends by age, sex and geographic region.