Japanese eat more meat, fewer vegetables than decade ago: official data

Kyodo

The average volume of vegetables, fruit and seafood that Japanese adults eat every day has fallen from 10 years ago, while the volume of meat consumed has increased, a government survey showed Thursday.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s survey on citizens’ health and nourishment for 2011 also found that people with a household income of less than ¥2 million a year tend to eat fewer vegetables than average.

According to the survey, conducted in November 2011 on 3,412 randomly selected households, adults ate 277.4 grams of vegetables a day on average, a drop of 18.4 grams from 10 years ago. They consumed 110.3 grams of fruit, down 22.0 grams, and 78.6 grams of seafood, down 24.3 grams.

Meanwhile, the average meat intake was up 6.7 grams at 80.7 grams.

“The finding suggests that income gaps tend to lead to gaps in the levels of nutritional intake,” a health ministry official said. The ministry stressed the importance of a well-balanced diet, saying that not eating enough vegetables and fruit could raise the risk of diseases associated with unfavorable eating and living habits.

A multiple answer question in the survey for people who regularly buy fresh food items showed that price was a significant factor influencing their purchase decisions.

Some 30.4 percent of the respondents said the decision not to buy a particular food item was often due to its high price.