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Canada’s Food Guide recommends that adults eat a variety of vegetables and fruit throughout the day as part of a healthy diet. The recommended number of servings that individuals should consume each day varies by age and sex. Please see Canada’s Food Guide 1 for more information.

While the minimum number of servings recommended for adults ranges from 7 to 8, many health organizations track and report on the number of individuals who consume vegetables and fruit five or more times a day. Because of this, the results presented below report on intake five or more times a day. 

Table 1: Percentage of Individuals Who Consume Vegetables and Fruit Five or More Times a Day by Year, Ages 12 and Over
  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Percent (%) 33.2 36.5 39.5 33.1 32.8 34.5
95% Cl 28.4-38.3 31.3-42.0 34.2-45.1 27.8-38.8 25.3-41.4 27.9-41.8

There is no significant difference in daily vegetable and fruit consumption from 2007 to 2012.​

Table 2: Percentage of Individuals Who Consume Vegetables and Fruit Five or More Times a Day by Age and Sex
  Male
% (95% CI)
Female
% (95% CI)
All
% (95% CI)
12-19 years  31.8 (24.8-39.7) 39.8 (31.7-48.5) 35.8 (30.5-41.4)
20-44 years 26.6 (21.1-33.0) 38.2 (32.7-43.9) 32.4 (28.2-36.8)
45-64 years 29.0 (23.0-35.9) 40.1 (33.8-46.7) 34.6 (30.1-39.4)
65+ years 34.9 (29.3-40.9) 48.0 (41.6-54.5) 42.3 (37.7-47.0)
Total All Ages 29.1 (25.7-32.8) 40.5 (37.2-44.0) 34.9 (32.3-37.6)

When sex is considered, females are significantly more likely than males to have consumed vegetables and fruit five or more times a day. When just age is considered, those aged 65 years and above are more likely than those aged 20 to 44 to consume vegetables and fruit at least 5 times a day.

Table 3: Percentage of Individuals Who Consume Vegetables and Fruit Five or More Times a Day by Income Quintile, Ages 12 and Over
  Quintile 1
Lowest
Quintile 2 Quintile 3 Quintile 4 Quintile 5
Highest
Percent (%) 27.8 33.9  38.3  36.8 37.7
95% CI 23.2-33.0  29.0-39.2  33.0-43.9 31.4-42.5 33.0-42.7

There is a significant difference in the percentage of individuals who consume vegetables and fruit five or more times a day based on income quintile, with those in the lowest income quintile being significantly less likely to eat vegetables and fruit five or more times a day in comparison to those in the highest income quintile.

Table 4: Percentage of Individuals Who Consume Vegetables and Fruit Five or More Times a Day by Immigration Status, Ages 12 and Over
  Born in Canada Immigrant
Percent (%) 35.6 34.4
95% CI 32.7-38.6  29.6-39.7

There is no difference in consumption based on immigration status.

Table 5: Percentage of Individuals Who Consume Vegetables and Fruit Five or More Times a Day by Minority Status, Windsor-Essex County, Ages 12 and Over
  White Minority
Percent (%) 36.5 28.6
95% CI 33.6-39.4 23.4-34.4

There is no difference in consumption based on minority status.

Table 6: Percentage of Individuals Who Consume Vegetables and Fruit Five or More Times a Day by Education, Ages 12 and Over
  Less than Secondary School Secondary School Graduate Some Post-Secondary School Post-Secondary Graduate
Percent (%) 32.6 29.5 24.9 40.1
95% CI 28.2-36.6 23.8-35.8 18.7-32.5 36.3-44.0

There is a significantly higher percentage of people in the post-secondary graduate category who consumed vegetables and fruit five times or more a day in comparison to the secondary school graduates and those who completed some post-secondary. 

Table 7: Percentage of Individuals Who Consume Vegetables and Fruit Five or More Times a Day by Rural or Population Centre Residence, Ages 12 and Over
  Rural Population Center
Percent (%) 38.8 34.2
95% CI 33.2-44.7 31.4-37.1

Whether an individual lives in a rural area or in a population centre does not influence consumption.

Data Notes

  1. Data Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, [2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012], Share File, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
  2. The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) collects data through participant self-report. Data collected through self-report can be biased due to inaccurate memory or because of social desirability. Social desirability happens when individuals answer questions in a manner that they think will be viewed favourably, and is more likely to occur when individuals are answering sensitive questions.
  3. 95% CI = 95% confidence interval. The 95% confidence interval provides a range within which we are 95% confident that the true population proportion (%) falls. If a stated result percentage is 18% with a 95% CI of 15.0-21.0%, we can be 95% confident that the true percentage lies within the range of 15.0% to 21.0%. The wider the confidence interval, the more variability there is, and the less precise the estimate.
  4. Data is for the Windsor-Essex County population aged 12 and over.
  5. Not Stated and Don’t Know responses were excluded from analysis.
  6. Significant differences were determined based on non-overlapping confidence intervals.
  7. Understanding income quintiles used in this report: The Canadian Community Health Survey contains a variable that groups Windsor-Essex survey respondents into one of 10 income deciles. Each decile contains 10% of the sample population. So that the lowest or first decile contains the 10% of the population that has the lowest household income, and the highest or 10th decile contains the 10% of the sample population that has the highest household income. The calculation takes into account reported household income, low-income cut-off values, household size, and community size. For the purposes of this report, deciles were used to create quintiles for ease of analysis and interpretation (quintiles are fifths, and so each quintile contains 20% of the sample population). The lowest two deciles were combined to make the lowest quintile, the third and fourth deciles were combined to create the second lowest quintile, and so forth, with the two highest income deciles being combined to make the highest income quintile.
  8. Respondents were deemed to be a minority if they did not report a white ethnic/racial background.
  9. Immigrant was defined as someone who had ever immigrated to Canada.
  10. A population centre is defined by Statistics Canada as an “area with a population of at least 1,000 and no fewer than 400 persons per square kilometre. The term 'population centre' (POPCTR) replaces the term 'urban area' (UA). Population centres are classified into three groups, depending on the size of their population.”2
  11. The geographical area of Windsor-Essex County represents the population of the entire county of Essex and includes all municipalities within the county.
  12. Age standardized statistics available upon request.

References

  1. Health Canada (2012). Food and nutrition. Retrieved from: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/order-commander/index-en...
  2. Statistics Canada (2012). Population centre. Retrieved from: http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/ref/dict/geo049a-eng.cfm