Good awareness but poor knowledge of the 5-a-day message

Low fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with low knowledge of the details of the 5-a-day fruit and vegetable message in the UK: findings from two cross-sectional questionnaire studies

Appleton et al., JHND Early Viewunknown-2

Background

This project aimed to understand the details of the 5-a-day fruit and vegetable (FV) message (which foods are included, portion sizes, the need for variety, reasons for consumption) least known by UK consumers, and most associated with low FV consumption.

Methods

Study 1 assessed FV consumption, knowledge of the details of the message, and relationships between these, using a short questionnaire administered face-to-face to an opportunity sample of one large UK city. Study 2 assessed the same variables using a comprehensive postal questionnaire administered across the UK to a representative population sample.

Results

Five hundred and seven respondents completed Study 1 and 247 respondents completed Study 2. The majority of individuals in both studies were aware of the 5-a-day message and could recount this correctly. In both studies, however, knowledge of the details of the message was low, and lower knowledge was associated with lower FV consumption. Respondents had lowest knowledge of the details of the message related to portion sizes and the need for variety. However, FV consumption was not independently associated with knowledge of any one aspect of the message.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that, although most of the UK population sampled were aware of the 5-a-day FV message and could recount this correctly, details of the 5-a-day FV message were not well known, and that FV consumption was related to this knowledge. These findings suggest that strategies to increase FV consumption will benefit from increasing UK consumers’ knowledge of the details of the 5-a-day FV message.

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