5 a day Ireland – Facts & Figures
Date of publishing: 17th Jul 2018
5 a day Ireland – Facts & Figures
Source: Pfizer Healthcare Ireland
The 5-a-day diet was the result of a growing body of evidence since the 1970s into the positive impact a Mediterranean diet high in fruits and vegetables had on life expectancy. Since then, the 5-a-day message has spread across the world1.
Eating more fruit and vegetables and reducing your intake of high salt, high fat foods is a central pillar in the Department of Health’s Obesity Policy and Action Plan that aims to tackle Ireland’s expanding obesity problem2.
Here is everything you need to know about the facts, figures, evidence and advice on getting your 5-a-day.
What is Ireland eating?
The Health Service Executive’s 2017 Health Ireland Survey uncovered the eating habits of the Irish3.
- Only 37% of us are eating five portions of fruit and vegetables every day
- The other 63% aren’t eating enough fruit and vegetables
- 18% claim they consume no fruit and vegetables at all
- Women are more likely than men to get their 5 a day
- More people consume vegetables (73%) than consume fruit (62%) every day
Instead of reaching for a healthy fruit or vegetable, we’re more likely to snack on sugary treats3.
- 36% of men and women eat unhealthy foods every day
- Older men and women have worse diets that younger people
- 20% of men and 22% of women consume sweets every day
- 16% consume sugar sweetened drinks every day
- Adults should consume at least five portions of fruit and vegetable a day4
- HSE Ireland recommends adults should try and consume 5 to 7 servings a day4
- That’s a total of around 400g of fruit and vegetables by uncooked weight1
- A serving of 100% fruit juice can count as one of your 5 a day, but it’s high in sugar, so limit yourself to 150ml4
A healthy diet isn’t just about eating more fruit and vegetables, you also need to limit your intake of unhealthy foods too.
- Limit salt to 6g every day8
- Adults should be eating two portions of oily fish a week5
- Chocolates, biscuits and cakes shouldn’t be eaten every day; aim for once or twice a week5
The evidence for a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, and lower in saturated fats and salt has been building since the 1970s1.
Here’s what we know:
- The risk of stroke is reduced by 32% for every 200g incremental increase in fruit consumption, and 11% for vegetables1.
- A systematic review of 58 studies found that there was “robust scientific evidence” to support the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD)1.
- A recent systematic review found that those who eat 10 pieces of fruit and vegetables a day have a 24% reduced risk of heart disease6, 33% reduction in the risk of stroke and a 31% reduction in premature death6.
- Eating just 3 pieces of fruit and veg a day can reduce your risk of premature death, found a 2017 study involving over 135,000 participants7.
- BMJ. What evidence for the benefits of ‘5-a-day’, a Mediterranean diet and sodium restriction on health? 205. (Cited 8.12.2017) Available from: http://dtb.bmj.com/content/53//6
- Department of Health. A healthy weight for Ireland: Obesity policy and action plan 016 – 025. 016. (Cited 18.1.2017) Available from: http://health.gov.ie/blog/publications/a-healthy-weight-for-ireland- obesity-policy-and-action-plan-016-2025
- Department of Health. Healthy Ireland Survey 2017. 2016. (Cited 18.12.2017) Available from: http://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/16-048825-Healthy-Ireland-Survey-18-October_for- printing.pdf
- Health Service Executive. Your guide to vegetables, salad and fruit. 2017. (Cited 18.12.2017) Available from: http://www.hse.ie/eng/about/who/healthwellbeing/our-priority-programmes/heal/food-pyramid- images/vegetables-salad-and-fruit-fact-sheet.pdf
- Health Service Executive. The Food Pyramid. 2017. (Cited 18.12.2017) Available from: http://www.hse.ie/eng/about/Who/healthwellbeing/Our-Priority-Programmes/HEAL/HEAL- docs/Food%20Pyramid%20Professional%20Version.pdf
- Aune, D. et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all- cause-mortality – a systematic review and dose – response meta-analysis of prospective studies. International Journal of Epidemiology. 2017. (Cited 18.12.2017) Available from: https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/46/3/1029/3039477#.WK8GCT_AOQE.twitter
- EurekaAlert! International study shows moderate consumption of fats and carbohydrates best for health. 201. (Cited 18.12.201) Available from: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/201-08/mu- iss08251.php
8. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/salt-nutrition/ Date Accessed 3rd July 2018
Date of Preparation: July 2018