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Hardly any Germans consume the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables daily

June 21, 2013

As one new nutrition survey shows, only 15% of women and 7% of men in Germany consume the five daily servings of fruits and vegetables – which constitutes an important sources of vitamins, minerals and trace elements – recommended by the German Nutrition Society.

As part of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults (DEGS1) food consumption was determined in a representative sample of 7,116 men and women between the ages of 18 and 79 using a validated consumption questionnaire (1). The study calculated how many servings of fruits and vegetables were consumed on average per day and how many people satisfied the recommendation set by the German Nutrition Society (DGE) of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The study shows that on average, women consumed 3.1 servings of fruit and vegetables and men 2.5 servings. Only 15% of the women and 7% of the men achieved the recommended five servings daily. Fruit consumption increased among women and men up to the ages of 60 to 69. At least three servings of fruits and vegetables were consumed daily by 39% of the women and 25% of the men. The percentage of men and women who consumed at least three servings daily tended to be higher as the social status rose.

The researchers concluded that, although fruit consumption was slightly higher in comparison to earlier surveys, the amount of people who consumed five servings of fruits and vegetables daily was still very low. The DGE’s current recommendations suggest that adults consume at least 400 g of vegetables and 250 g of fruits per day (2). Since 2002, a parallel initiative in Germany – the ‘5 a day’ campaign – has been propaga-ting the consumption of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. A glass of fruit or vegetable juice may only replace a maximum of one serving. According to the DGE’s Nutrition Report published in 2012, foods that have been fortified with vitamins or minerals (especially multivitamin drinks) and dietary supplements significantly contribute to the supply of micronutrients (3).

References

  1. Mensink G. B. M. et al. Fruit and vegetable intake in Germany. Results of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults (DEGS1). Bundesgesundheitsbl. 2013; 56:779–785.
  2. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung. Jetzt mit 5 am Tag in die Saison starten. In: DGE aktuell – Presseinformation. DGE e.V., Bonn. 2012.
  3. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung. 12. Ernährungsbericht. DGE e.V., Bonn. 2012.