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article imageThe changing Japanese diet: more meat, less veg

By Tim Sandle     Dec 9, 2012 in Food
Tokyo - The Japanese government is concerned about the diet of the typical citizen. The average volume of vegetables, fruit and seafood that Japanese adults eat every day has fallen during the past ten years leading to concerns about health and nutrition.
As the volume of fruit and vegetables consumed in Japan has free-fallen, the volume of meat consumed has correspondingly increased, according to the Japan Times. This information has come from The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's survey on citizens' health and nourishment for 2011.
Although the findings correlate across the Japanese population, the report demonstrates, the House of Japan notes, a link between income and diet. The report found that people with a household income of less than ¥2 million a year (around $24,000) tend to eat fewer vegetables compared to the average.
Health and diet are intrinsically linked. Importantly, given the current global economic outlook, several global studies have shown that low income groups have been shown to have inadequate nutritional levels in their diets – with affordability cited as the major reason.
The main findings are (via the JiJi Press):
A Japanese adult eats an average of 80.7 grams of meat per day, up 6.7 grams from a 2001 survey.
Consumption of vegetables fell 18.4 grams to 277.4 grams and that of seafood declined 24.3 grams to 78.6 grams.
While consumption of seafood exceeded that of meat until the 2008 survey, meat consumption has been greater since .
The reason for the changes maybe linked to the popularity of Western diets, which are richer in meat. The new trend could see a change to the typical calorific intake by the Japanese. The average daily caloric intake in Japan is 2,754 calories, 85th in the world. This can be compared to 3,825 in the United States (no.1) and 1,500 in the Congo (173rd).
In response to the findings, the Japanese government has stressed the importance of a well-balanced diet. The advice is that this should include more vegetables and fruit in order to avoid the risk of diseases associated with poor diets. General medical advice suggests that fruits and vegetables are packed with essential nutrients that strengthen the body, heal and repair damage, ward off sickness and fight disease.
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