Change in vegetable and fruit consumption in Canada between 2004 and 2015

Health Rep. 2020 Jun 24;31(4):3-12. doi: 10.25318/82-003-x202000400001-eng.


Background: Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits on a daily basis is the foundation of a healthy diet. This study investigated patterns in Canadians' vegetable and fruit consumption in 2015 and compared these with 2004 data.

Data and methods: The 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) - Nutrition and the 2004 CCHS - Nutrition (Cycle 2.2) provided nationally representative 24-hour dietary recall data on Canadians' vegetable and fruit intakes. The frequency of consumption and the average quantity of daily intake for total vegetables, fruits and subgroups were calculated overall and by age and sex group for each survey year. The National Cancer Institute's methodology was used to assess the distribution of usual total vegetable and fruit intake and how it relates to recommendations in the 2007 Canada's Food Guide.

Results: Overall, Canadians reported consuming fewer total servings of vegetables and fruits in 2015 (4.5 average daily servings) than in 2004 (5.3 average daily servings). Lower total fruit intakes were explained by significantly lower intakes of fruit juice across nearly all age and sex groups, resulting in a decline of 0.3 average total daily fruit servings in the overall population. Lower vegetable consumption was largely driven by lower intakes of potatoes and, to a lesser extent, lettuce. Intakes of whole fruits and other vegetables remained largely unchanged. In both years, the majority of Canadians did not usually consume the number of total vegetable and fruit servings recommended for their age and sex group in the 2007 Canada's Food Guide.

Discussion: Canadians reported consuming fewer vegetables and fruits in 2015 compared with 2004. This was largely driven by substantially lower consumption of fruit juice and, to a lesser extent, potatoes. These findings can serve as valuable baseline data to assess any changes in patterns of vegetable and fruit consumption in Canada.

Keywords: Canadian Community Health Survey; dietary intake; fruit; nutrition; vegetables.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / trends*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Policy / trends*
  • Vegetables*