New Delhi: Indians, across all age groups, consume less than half the quantity of fruits and vegetables recommended by World Health Organisation, a study revealed.
The survey, which was conducted by Indian Council for research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER)---a not-for-profit, economic policy think tank--- said the average intake of fruits and vegetables by the people in the age group of 18-35 was 2.97 servings where as the national average is of 3.5 servings. The consumption of fruits and vegetables in students was found to be abysmally low at 2.94 servings per day.
As per the WHO prescription, its is necessary to consume 400 gms of fruits and vegetables (for five daily servings on an average) to avoid chronic diseases. Ironically, India is one of the highest fruits producing countries.
Income plays a major role in consumption of nutritional food as the survey showed the intake of fruits and vegetables is higher in higher income group. More Indians want to buy organic produce but cannot do so because of its unavailability, the study said.
The survey was done in NCR (New Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon), Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Koklata and the sample consisted of individuals from higher and middle income groups. While housewives fared better in terms of intake of fruits and vegetables, Chennai topped the list with average of 4.35 servings everyday while Kolkata was at the bottom with 2.81 servings.
Variations were also observed in those following different kinds of diets. For instance, the average daily fruit and vegetable intake of a vegetarian is 3.87, 3.43 for an eggaterian and 3.2 for a non-vegetarian person.
The study also found that high prices and seasonality of production are crucial barriers affecting consumption.