Vegetable and fruit: the evidence in their favour and the public health perspective

Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2003 Mar;73(2):63-9. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831.73.2.63.


There is strong evidence that the intake of vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and is inversely associated with several forms of cancer. In contrast, information concerning specific macro- or micronutrients in relation to chronic diseases is limited and largely inconclusive. The beneficial role of vegetable and fruit consumption can also be inferred by considering the health effects of two dietary patterns, the Mediterranean and Japanese ones, in both of which the consumption of plant foods holds a prominent position. Time-trend data, retrieved from the DAFNE databank on the vegetable and fruit availability in four European countries (Greece, Ireland, Italy and Norway) indicate that, during the last decade, fruit availability decreased in Greece and Italy and increased in Ireland and Norway, whereas vegetable availability decreased only in Italy. In Greece, Italy and Norway, the daily fruit availability was higher than that of vegetables, a dietary pattern not in accordance to recommendations for higher vegetable consumption. This information, which is crucial for nutrition policies and health education, also demonstrates the value of the DAFNE surveillance system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Databases as Topic
  • Diet*
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Fruit*
  • Greece
  • Health Education
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Norway
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Public Health*
  • Vegetables*