Australia has been ranked top by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for daily vegetable consumption by adults in a study surveying 28 countries worldwide.
The study found that 99 per cent of Australian adults consumed vegetables daily, compared with the average rate across the countries of 64 per cent for men and 73 per cent for women.
However, 90 per cent of Australian adults are still not eating the recommended daily amount.
“While it is excellent that we are leading the world in daily vegetable consumption, with ABS data showing only 5.5 per cent of Australians adults are meeting the recommended daily intake of five servings of vegetables, it is important that we make a conscious effort to increase our consumption to promote better health,” said a spokesperson for peak industry body Ausveg, Cameron Brown, in a company media release.
“Research continues to show that a diet rich in vegetables can assist with the prevention of a wide range of health problems. A high intake of vegetables, for example, may help to reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease, maintain cognitive brain function and even assist in the fight against cancer.”
Australia was followed in pole position by South Korea, New Zealand, Ireland and Switzerland.
However, there were some discrepancies in the survey, with some countries listing potato as a vegetable while others, including Australia, did not.
Germany came last in the study, with only 30 per cent of the country’s men eating vegetables daily, not including potatoes.
Brown noted that it was interesting that women led men in vegetable consumption in virtually all countries surveyed.
“In almost all of the nations that participated in the study, vegetable consumption was higher in women than men, so Australian males in particular should ensure they are consuming adequate levels of vegetables,” he said.
Australia’s vegetable industry presents one of the most valuable in the horticulture sector, generating more than US$3.5bn annually.