Eat Your Greens!

The importance importance of eating well cannot, and should not, be underestimated. These findings are a very negative development.

Gen Y switched off on fruit and veg

12 Jan, 2012 04:00 AM

WHEN it comes to Apple and Blackberry, Generation Y is well informed.But ask them about the fresh fruit and vegetable varieties and they switch off.

New research has revealed youngsters have more ideas about Apple computers and Blackberry mobile phones than what makes up a healthy diet.

A University of Sydney survey of 106 students aged 18 to 24 revealed just 54 per cent could identify the recommended serving sizes of the important food groups.

Confirming the trend, Warrnambool’s Materia Brothers Fruiterers assistant manager Simon Crisp said in his 21 years with the business, he had never been asked what made up one serve of fruit or vegetables.

“I probably wouldn’t know either,” he said. “(But) it’d be commonsense if you thought about it.”

Mr Crisp said new produce packaging left more room for confusion over the daily recommended intake of fruit and vegetables. He said with faster lifestyles, shoppers often looked for the easiest option.

“Eating habits have changed,” he said. “Everything is moving towards pre-packaged.”

AUSVEG senior communications officer Courtney Burger said the survey, published in the Dieticians Association of Australia Nutrition and Dietetics Journal, highlighted areas health experts needed to look into.

“There’s not a lot of education out there,” she said.

Many of the students were not able to determine that single servings of vegetables could include one medium-sized potato, one cup of salad or half a cup of cooked peas.

One candidate said they thought a bunch of carrots was one serving, while another said one grape.

“There is a lot of campaigning promoting two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables per day but it’s a futile campaign unless people are aware of what constitutes each serving,” Miss Burger said.

“If they don’t know the quantities, they won’t know what to eat.”

Miss Burger said it was essential for young people to know serving sizes in order to have a healthy, balanced diet with the right amount of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

“It will help combat obesity and diabetes,” she said.

“A generation that is unaware of healthy habits will take that through (to adulthood). That’s why we need to target the younger generations.”