The study, carried out by Roy Morgan on Australians over the age of 14, also found that individual consumption varies dramatically depending on age, gender and socioeconomic status.
Out of the two healthy food groups, most Australians fall short with vegetables, with 60% eating just two or less servings a day. Moreover, only 6% eat more than the recommended five servings.
Fruit in favour
Women tend to eat more than men, while those over 50 are generally more likely than their younger counterparts to eat three or more daily servings; however even though people over 65 are the most zealous veggie-eaters, a mere 8% out of this age group eat the recommended servings each day.
Those from the lowest socio-economic tend to the least vegetables of all, and are twice as likely than the average Australian to eat none at all.
In terms of fruit, one-third of women and 28% of men eat their recommended two servings each day, while around one-fifth of both genders eat more than that.
Again, older Australians are more likely to meet the recommended intake, they are consistently outstripped by 14-17 year-olds, of whom almost two-thirds eat two or more servings per day.
Meat and two veg
It is especially worrying that young adults are among the east likely segments of the population to eat both fruit and vegetables, said Angela Smith of Roy Morgan, who monitored the study.
“Overall, young married parents are among the least likely segments of the population to get their ‘two-and-five’, which is cause for concern, as it suggests that their kids are probably missing out too.
“Young singles also rate poorly for eating the recommended daily serves of fruit and veg, as of course do people from the [lower] socioeconomic quintile.”
Married people without kids tend to be a little likelier to eat their recommended daily servings, as do older single parents, Smith said.
Given that Australia’s traditional meat-and-two-veg culinary tradition might largely be behind the population’s off-target veggie consumption in particular, making it more difficult to come up with ways to include five servings a day, it will be interesting to see how the country’s increasingly multicultural population will affect this over time, she added.