Objective: To assess the intake frequency of fruit and vegetables, serving sizes, reasons for and barriers to consumption, and the potential for increasing fruit and vegetable intake.
Design: A nationwide postal questionnaire survey was conducted in 2006 over all four seasons. The participants were stratified according to occupation and sex. The response rate for 5130 questionnaires sent out was 52.7 %.
Subjects: Austrian adults, aged 19-64 years.
Results: Daily fruit consumption was reported by 57.1 % of the participants and daily vegetable consumption by 36.2 %. On average, 2.1 (SD 1.9) servings (250 (SD 225) g) of fruit and 1.7 (SD 1.3) servings (198 (SD 159) g) of vegetables were consumed daily. Women ate fruit and vegetables both more frequently and in greater quantities than men. Both intake frequency and the number of fruit and vegetable servings were largely independent of seasonal fluctuations. The primary reason for the consumption of both fruit and vegetables was taste. The greatest barrier to higher intake was the perception that current individual consumption was already sufficient. Price did not constitute a relevant barrier in Austria. At present, the potential for increasing fruit and vegetable intake can be estimated at two servings.
Conclusions: Austrian adults still consume less fruit and vegetables than recommended. Strategies to increase intake should pay more attention to the taste instead of the various health aspects.