Only one in five people in the UK eat the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day, according to a new poll.
The YouGov survey of more than 2,000 UK adults, carried out for the World Cancer Research Fund, found that the majority of Brits are finding the five-a-day goal difficult to achieve.
Not enough of us are eating our five-a-day of fruit and veg
The Department of Health first launched its five-a-day campaign in 2003. Just 17 per cent of lower income households eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day, compared with 27 per cent of higher income groups.
Fruit and veg consumption levels are lowest in the north of England, with only 18 per cent eating the recommended amount. In the south of England this jumped to 26 per cent.
80g of fruit or veg is classed as one portion. This is equivalent to two small fruits, one medium sized fruit, or three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables. Potatoes do not count, and beans and pulses count as one portion regardless of quantity.
Kate Mendoza, head of education for the WCRF, said: "These figures show that many people are still finding it difficult to follow the healthy eating message.
"A diet based on plant foods, such as wholegrains and pulses as well as fruit and vegetables, can reduce cancer risk as research shows they protect against a range of cancers.
"Recent research has confirmed that foods containing fibre reduce the risk of bowel cancer."
The World Cancer Research Fund is now urging people to eat ‘just one more portion’ for a healthier diet. A recent survey showed that 40 per cent of cancers are caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking.
The charity is holding an awareness day, "Fruity Friday", on 18 May as part of Cancer Prevention Week.
Certain private medical insurance policies will reward customers for living a healthy lifestyle, so compare health insurance quotes online now.
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