5 A DAY and other plant foods

How many portions of vegetables and fruit do we eat, and how much fibre?

Average number of portions of vegetables and fruit consumed every day in the UK and the percentage (%) of people achieving the recommended five portions a day (figures from 2008-12)

Age group Average number of portions consumed per day Percentage achieving 5 A DAY
11-18 2.9 9
19-65 4.1 30
65 and over 4.6 41

One portion is equivalent to 80g.

How much fibre do we eat?

The recommended intake of fibre for adults in the UK is 30g a day.

On average, adults in the UK currently have about 18g of fibre a day.

How many cases of cancer could be prevented if everyone in the UK ate enough vegetables, fruit and fibre?

Type of cancer Approximate number of UK cases per year preventable through eating non-starchy vegetables
  % Number
Mouth, pharynx and larynx 34 3,600
Oesophagus 21 1,800

 

Type of cancer Approximate number of UK cases per year preventable through eating fruit
  % Number
Mouth, pharynx and larynx 17 1,800
Oesophagus 5 440
Lung 33 15,000

 

Type of cancer Approximate number of UK cases per year preventable through eating foods containing fibre (e.g. wholegrains, vegetables, fruit, beans, and pulses)
  % Number
Bowel 12 5,100

Sources

Vegetable, fruit and fibre statistics come from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey Headline results from Years 1-4 (combined) of the rolling programme 2008/9 – 2011/12.

Information on fibre comes from NHS Choices.

Find out more about preventability estimates or, for more detailed information, download Appendix A of our Policy Report.

Figures on cancer incidence come from the following sources: for England; for Wales; for Scotland; and for Northern Ireland.