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Revista de Nutrição

On-line version ISSN 1678-9865


GOMES, Fabio da Silva. Fruits and vegetables: technical recommendations versus social constructs. Rev. Nutr. [online]. 2007, vol.20, n.6, pp.669-680. ISSN 1678-9865.

Goal recommendations and prescriptions addressed to the population are often constructed based exclusively on technical-scientific definitions, ignoring social constructive processes of the risk that involves values, perceptions and experiences. Thus, important barriers may impair the advancement of policies that aim to implement these recommendations. This article presents multidisciplinary contributions to the construction of prescribed recommendations and goals, especially concerning the consumption of fruits and vegetables. It discusses some psychosocial and macro-structural barriers for the consumption of these foods and their implications for population-based interventions. With the objective of inducing reflection, the article conducts a critical review analyzing the problem under the light of structuralist theories on the social construction of risk. Recommendations and prescriptions of goals were analyzed considering the risk, its social determinants, components and concepts aggregated as multidimensional factors. Important lessons drawn from the review include: 1) the need to incorporate popular contributions to the definition, content, strategies of communication and implementation of the food policy agenda; 2) the vital need to recover the non-nutritional aspects of the foods, such as taste, as indispensable components to value and promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables; and 3) the need to adopt a concept of healthy eating that follows the broadness of the concept of health. The analysis indicates that the messages need to approach and value culture and tradition, avoiding references to healthy eating that are essentially or exclusively based on nutrients, diseases, longevity and sophistication.

Keywords : culture; nutrition programmes and policies; risk; sociology; vegetables.

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