One out of every ten residents in Iceland eats five or more portions of fruits and vegetables per day, or 10%, according to the Icelandic Health Interview Survey from 2015. These results yield Iceland in the 12th lowest seat in European comparison. Women are more numerous in this group but consumption of fruits and vegetables is also related to levels of education, age and residence.
Similar consumption as in Europe
Just over third (35%) of respondents in Iceland reported eating less than one portion of fruits and vegetables per day which is similar to the average within the European Union (34%). This proportion is highest in Romania (65%) and lowest in Belgium (16%).
The proportion that reported eating between 1 and 4 portions per day was 55% which is slightly above the EU average (51%). This proportion is highest in Belgium (71%) but lowest in the Netherlands (29%).
The group that reported eating five portions or more a day was 10% in Iceland, a little below the average within the European Union (14%). This group is largest in the United Kingdom (33%) and Ireland (29%) but smallest in Turkey (3%).
Women eat more fruits and vegetables
As in Europe, women in Iceland have a higher intake of fruits and vegetable than men do. Around 14% of women in Iceland and 6% of men eat five or more portions per day. Consumption of fruits and vegetables is also related to education, as 40% of people with primary education eat less than one portion a day compared with 28% of people with tertiary education. Residence also matters, as 32% of people in the capital area eat less than one portion of fruits and vegetables per day compared with 40% in rural areas.
Income matters less than elsewhere
In many European countries there is quite a strong relationship between income and consumption of fruits and vegetables. In the United Kingdom for example about 39% of respondents in the highest income quintile eat five or more portions per day compared with 25% in the lowest income quintile. The connection between income and the intake of fruits and vegetables is relatively weak if we look at the group that eats five or more portions per day, as around 9% of the lowest income quintile group do so compared with 11% of the two highest income groups. The relationship is somewhat stronger if we look at the other end, i.e. the group that consumes less than one portion per day, which 40% of those in the lowest income quintile do compared with 33% in the two highest income quintiles.
Further analyses on consumption of fruits and vegetables by education, age, income and residence are to be found in tables on the Statistics Iceland website.
Consumption of fruits and vegetables
Respondents were asked about the consumption in two separate questions. If these food groups were consumed daily, respondents were asked about portions per day. One portion equals one average sized fruit or about 150 ml of freshly squeezed juice. Potatoes and juice from concentrate was not to be counted.
About the European Health Interview Survey
Health interview surveys offer comprehensive data on the health status of a population and health-related topics based on answers by respondents of a representative sample of the population. The Icelandic survey was conducted in autumn 2015. The sample consisted of 5,700 individuals drawn randomly from the population registry. This yielded responses from 4,001 persons, a response rate of 70.2%.