'LOW FRUIT AND VEGETABLE INTAKE Fruit and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet.
Accumulating evidence suggests that they could help prevent major diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (20) and certain cancers principally of the digestive system (21). There are several mechanisms by which these protective effects may be mediated, involving antioxidants and other micronutrients, such as flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C and folic acid, as well as dietary fibre. These and other substances block or suppress the action of carcinogens and, as antioxidants, prevent oxidative DNA damage.
Fruit and vegetable intake varies considerably among countries, in large part reflecting the prevailing economic, cultural and agricultural environments. The analysis assessed the levels of mean dietary intake of fruit and vegetables (excluding potatoes) in each region, measured in grams per person per day. The estimated levels varied two-fold around the world, ranging from about 189 g/day in AMR-B to 455 g/day in EUR-A.
Low intake of fruit and vegetables is estimated to cause about 19% of gastrointestinal cancer, and about 31% of ischaemic heart disease and 11% of stroke worldwide. Overall, 2.7 million (4.9%) deaths and 26.7 million (1.8%) DALYs are attributable to low fruit and vegetable intake. Of the burden attributable to low fruit and vegetable intake, about 85% was from cardiovascular diseases and 15% from cancers.'source: page 42.