Scientists launch ‘dinner table’ app to encourage eating of more vegetables

CANBERRA (Xinhua) – Many Australians are becoming increasingly eco-friendly and “going green” in many aspects of their life, but less so at meal times, it seems.

Research indicates two out of three Australian adults are not eating enough vegetables, a factor that is contributing partly to the nation’s health and obesity problems.

The new app aims to tackle Australians’ aversion to fresh, green and crispy stuff.

VegEze app, developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), aims to encourage Australians to add extra vegetables to their daily diets. The app was launched yesterday.

CSIRO nutritionists will study how effective the app’s game-like nature is at changing people’s eating patterns as part of a broader research study.

The VegEze app features educational resources and challenges users to eat more vegetables, tracking intake and tally vegetable serves. – AP

Manny Noakes, CSIRO’s senior principal research scientist professor, said yesterday a fresh approach is needed to improve Australia’s vegetable consumption and diet quality.

“Our research found two out of three Australian adults are not eating enough vegetables, especially as part of their evening meal. It’s time to find more engaging, effective approaches to help break these entrenched diet habits,” she said in a media release.

VegEze challenges users to eat three different vegetables at their evening meal every day for 21 days. It will track their intake and tally vegetable serves, with reminders and rewards.

“Committing to eating more vege-tables every day is one of the most important ways we can improve our health today,” Professor Noakes said. “The beneficial nutrients and fibre from vegetables can help improve digestion, and fill you up which can help reduce eating too much unhealthy junk food.”

The app has been developed on the back of a CSIRO study into Australian eating. Since May 2015, scientists at the country’s peak scientific research body have studied the dietary habits of more than 191,000 adults for its Healthy Diet Score research.

Eating three types of vegetables as part of the evening meal was found to be a key marker of a better diet.But further research of 1,068 adults showed some Australians were falling short due to lack of awareness and time, and low confidence.

To overcome these barriers, the VegEze app features educational resources, including a visual guide to optimum serve sizes, recipes and nutritional information.