Fruit and vegetables: intake and sociodemographic determinants among Portuguese mothers

Ann Nutr Metab. 2013;63(1-2):131-8. doi: 10.1159/000351987. Epub 2013 Aug 21.


Background: Fruit and vegetable intake is crucial in health promotion and disease prevention. Inadequate intake is found among adult populations worldwide.

Aims: To assess fruit and vegetable intake among Portuguese mothers and to examine its association with sociodemographic determinants.

Methods: A national cross-sectional survey was performed in Portugal as part of the Pro Children study. Data from self-administrated precoded 24-hour recall and food frequency questionnaires answered by 1,853 mothers of 11- to 13-year-old children were analyzed. Descriptive analysis of the data was followed by logistic regression to assess associations between daily fruit and vegetable intake and sociodemographic determinants.

Results: The mean fruit and vegetable intake was 221.2 and 170.0 g/day, respectively. Only 46% of the mothers met the WHO recommendations (≥400 g fruit and vegetables/day). Daily fruit intake was significantly higher among mothers who live with a spouse/partner, and who belong to a higher social class. For vegetables, daily intake was significantly higher among mothers with a higher education and social class.

Conclusions: This study shows that the mean intake of fruit and vegetables among Portuguese mothers is far below international recommendations. Effective strategies to promote fruit and vegetable intake are needed, especially for mothers belonging to lower social classes and educational levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Fruit*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Mental Recall
  • Mothers
  • Portugal
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables*