Yarra Ranges residents not eating enough fruit and vegetables

Monday, 1 July 2019
Yarra Ranges residents not eating enough fruit and vegetables

There are some great advantages to living in the Yarra Ranges – like the open green areas and park lands that encourage us outdoors. You would think that being closer to farms, orchards and nature, might mean we are more likely to be active and eat more fresh fruit and veggies. But this isn’t so.

Only 3.5% of Yarra Ranges residents are eating enough fruit and veggies

The Victorian Population Health Survey found that residents in the Yarra Ranges were less likely to eat the daily recommended amount of enough fruit and vegetables. Only 3.5% of residents met both the daily fruit and vegetable consumption guidelines compared to 4.4% of Victorian adults.

We are better at eating our daily serves of fruit than we are at eating our veggies. 43.9% of Yarra Ranges residents met the daily fruit consumption guidelines compared to 47.8% of Victorians.

When it comes to eating our daily serves of veggies, only 7.1% of Yarra Ranges locals meet the guidelines compared to 7.4% of Victorians. Twenty-six percent of locals ate 3 to 4 serves per day; 60% ate 1 to 2 serves per day; and 6% ate less than one serve per day.

Are you eating enough fruit and veggies each day?

Find out if you are eating enough fruit and veggies each day using the guidelines below. 

Fruit and vegetable consumption guidelines from Nutrition Australia (standard serves per day) for men and women:

Adults Vegetables & legumes Fruit
Women 19 – 70+ years 5 2
Men 19 – 50 years 6 2
Men 51 – 70 years 2
Men 70+ years 5 2

What is a standard serve?

A standard serve of fruit is about 150g. Examples are:

  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
  • 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
  • 1 cup of diced or canned fruit (with no added sugar)

A standard serve of vegetables is about 75g. Examples are:

  • ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin
  • ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils (with no added salt)
  • 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables
  • ½ cup sweet corn
  • ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables (sweet potato, taro or cassava)
  • 1 medium tomato

We are more likely to eat take-away meals, snacks and soft drinks

Yarra Ranges residents not eating enough fruit and vegetables

We do enjoy convenience and take-away food. The survey found that we are more likely to eat take-away meals and snacks than the average Victorian. 82% of Yarra Ranges residents eat take-away meals or snacks about once per week, compared to 71% of Victorians.

Many of us (30%) are also drinking sugar-sweetened soft drinks at least once a week and 11% of us are having these drinks daily. Takeaway meals, snacks and soft drinks often have much higher amounts of sugar, salt and fat, which are known to increase the risks of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

We are also not doing enough physical activity

We are not doing enough physical activity
Although there are many beautiful park lands and forests in the Yarra Ranges, we are more likely to spend a lot sedentary time on weekends. Sedentary is where we spend no time on physical activity and muscle strengthening – for example when we are sitting or lying down.

Women in the Yarra Ranges are more likely to meet the physical activity guidelines than men. While Yarra Ranges men are more likely to be overweight or obese compared to the state average, the Yarra Ranges had an above average level of overweight women.

A high sugar, salt and fat diet, and not enough physical activity equals higher health risks

A diet that is high in sugar, salt and fat, combined with a sedentary lifestyle puts our health at risk.

We are more likely to become overweight or obese. Obesity is a significant risk factor for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and some cancers.

The high-fibre in veggies is not only good for our health but it helps move food through our digestive system and avoid digestive disorders like constipation and haemorrhoids.

Tooth and mouth decay

Unhealthy foods and drinks can also cause significant and often expensive damage to your teeth, here are 7 great food choices to keep your teeth healthy7 food choices to keep your teeth healthy 

High-fibre in veggies helps us avoid constipation.

Simple changes to make healthy eating easy

Completely changing what you eat will very likely make you miserable and probably won’t be sustainable in the long run.

But substituting in healthier options for your meals is a change that you can carry on with for the rest of your life – and it will have benefits beyond calorie counting, as you will gain other essential nutrients as well as reducing harmful ones. Learn some ways you can make healthy eating easy here. Alternatively try one of these healthy snacks.

Healthy recipes and snacks from our dietitians

It’s important to eat well and be physically active every day

Being physically active helps you to feel good physically and emotionally. It also:

  • Reduces and controls risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Manages diabetes and joint pain such as arthritis.
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Physical activity guidelines for adults are:

  • 150 minutes of moderate intensive physical activity or the equivalent of 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity each week – remember to start small and gradually increase.
  • At least two sessions per week of resistance training (on non-consecutive days).
  • Be active on most, preferably all days of the week.
  • Sit less: Avoid sitting for long periods of time – concentrate on moving more where possible.


Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.

Do you need help to eat well and exercise?

Inspiro has dietitians who can help you understand nutritional information, give practical advice about what to eat and tailor a plan for you.

We also have exercise physiologists and physiotherapists who can help you stay physically active and develop exercises tailored to your needs. Not sure what the difference between an exercise physiologist and a physiotherapist is? Find out here.

Call 9028 0153 to make an appointment.

• Yarra ranges Health and Wellbeing Profile, 2017
• ABS National Health Survey: First results, 2017-18