Relationship of Fruit and Vegetable Intake with Adiposity

A Systematic Review

Consuming fruits and vegetables has been put forth as an obesity-prevention strategy. But previous research reviews drew conflicting conclusions about the protective effects on children and adults of consuming fruits and vegetables.

These researchers looked at peer-reviewed journals to determine if fruit and vegetable consumption (FVC) was related to reduced or slower gains in adiposity among adults and children in experimental or longitudinal studies. In all, 23 studies were assessed.

Key Findings:

  • Eight of 11 experimental studies of adults showed higher FVC was related to weight loss, while three did not. Eight studies found weight loss occurred when increased FVC was accompanied by reduction in total energy intake or increased physical activity.
  • Three of the seven longitudinal studies found the expected decrease in adiposity with increase in FVC. The other studies had mixed results or showed no relationship.
  • One experimental study of children tested an intervention to lower energy intake that failed to increase FVC to five servings a day.
  • One of the four longitudinal studies of children found the expected inverse association between FVC and adiposity.

The study concluded that the inverse relationship between FVC and adiposity in overweight adults appears weak; among children the relationship is unclear.