Most adults in the UK are not getting all the vitamins and minerals they need from their daily diet.
This ‘nutritional shortfall’ has been exposed a new report, which analysed UK dietary surveys.
Only a third of adults and just 15% of children achieved the government-set five-a-day target for fruit and vegetables and as many as 50% of adults and 97% of the elderly had ‘inadequate nutritional intake’.
On average, respondents ate just 1.7 pieces of fruit a day and 2.14 portions of vegetables a day – a combined total of 3.84 fruit and vegetable portions.
Consuming at least 400g of fruit and vegetables per day, around five portions, can reduce the risk of deaths from chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and some cancers, according to the World Health Organisation.
The report was produced by independent dieticians Dr Carrie Ruxton and Dr Pamela Mason examining the evidence from national dietary surveys.
One particular survey, by the Health Supplements Information Service, found nearly three quarters of Britons are worried about their vitamin and mineral intake, with nearly one in 10 (8%) fretting about their nutrition every day.
A better daily diet is the solution in the long-term, but taking supplements could help to bridge the gap, researchers concluded.
“Immediate improvements to nutrient intakes could be achieved by encouraging a greater uptake of dietary supplements, especially in vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, the elderly and young children,” said Dr Ruxton.
The report calls for a more ‘joined-up approach’ from the government and nutritional agencies to provide healthy eating and nutritional advice.