WEARSIDERS need to eat more fruit and vegetables.
That’s the message from health workers in the city after new statistics showed people are falling way short of their expected consumption of fruit and veg.
Figures from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) show that fewer than one in five people in the north of England are meeting the minimum five-a-day requirement.
This was compared to a marginally-better 26 per cent in the south of the country, the survey of 2,128 adults found.
It also found that only 17 per cent of people in low income households eat the suggested amount, compared with 27 per cent in higher income groups.
Tracy Webb, senior specialist dietitian at Sunderland Royal Hospital, said: “People from Sunderland aren’t very good at eating enough fruit and vegetables.
“It really is very important to eat those kind of foods and the reason we encourage people to have five a day is because of the vitamins and minerals, as well as the antioxidants that are in them.
“In this part of the country we don’t get anywhere near enough fruit and veg.
“Patients who see me will say they have vegetables at their nana’s on a Sunday, but they’ve got to have them more regularly.
“They’re a handy snack compared to crisps and biscuits and are low in calories as well.”
Tracy added that by getting five portions of fruit and veg into your diet, it can increase the chances of avoiding cancers and other killer illnesses.
“They can help prevent diseases like cancer and heart disease,” she said.
“It’s reducing the risk of getting them.”
City business owner Matthew Thoburn, who runs Thoburn Fruit and Veg, in Jacky Whites Market, disputed the new figures, arguing that in his view, people from Sunderland are consuming more fruit and vegetables than previously.
Mr Thoburn said: “I would beg to differ with those figures they’ve mentioned.
“We seen an average of 1,800 to 2,000 customers through our doors every day.
“I think the number of people eating the right amount of fruit and veg has gone up because the Government has been pushing the five a day.
“These days there are a lot more people cooking and entertaining at home.”
WCRF’s head of education, Kate Mendoza, said: “A diet based on plant foods, such as whole grains and pulses as well as fruit and vegetables, can reduce cancer risk as research shows they protect against a range of cancers.
“Recent research has confirmed that foods containing fibre reduce the risk of bowel cancer.”
WE asked people in Sunderland city centre “do you get your five portions of fruit and veg a day?”
William Baird, 89, of Grangetown, said: “I eat fruit and veg every day.
“I love my vegetables and have plenty of fruit for breakfast with my porridge.”
Hendon resident John Reag, 64, said: “I like my fruit. I get it fresh from the market.”
Winifred Kerr, of Chester Road, said: “I eat a lot of fruit. I could eat it all day long. I love fruit juices as well.”
Dennis Kennedy, 62, said: “I like to eat cooking apples.”
Dora Moon, 74, said: “Yes, I do eat five a day. I like to have fruit after my tea. I eat a lot of fruit.”