Thais not eating enough veg and fruit

The diet of the majority of Thai people contains less fruit and vegetables than the minimum level recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure good health, resulting in an increased risk of chronic disease, academics have warned.

A report on investment in public health, part of the 10th National Economic and Social Development Plan (2007-2011), concluded  that at least 75% of Thai people consumed less than 400 grams a day of vegetables and fruit – the minimum WHO recommendation.

The Public Health Ministry’s nationwide examination of people in 2008 and 2009 showed similar results, with the daily diets of  76.2% of people over 15 years old containing less than the recommended portion of 30% vegetables, and for 71.8% of them fruit made up less than the recommended 20%.

Dr Visith Chavasit; Director of the Institute of Nutrition at Mahidol University, said the low consumption of vegetables and fruit in Thailand has resulted in more Thai people getting chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart and cardiac-related diseases and cancer.

He said many medical stuies had found that at least 400g of vegetables and fruit in daily diet would reduce risk to heart disease by 33% and cancer by 50% when compared with those who consumed less than the recommended amount.

He said despite the campaign to promote consumption of vegetables and fruit Thai people are eating less fresh produce because of changes in behaviour,with more people buying ready-to-eat food, resulting in an imbalanced intake.

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