About 286,000 people in Scotland currently live with Type 2 diabetes and a further 670,000 live with heart and circulatory disease – two conditions associated with poor diet.
The research by the National Charity Partnership, a collaboration between Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Tesco, is urging Scots to take action now to reduce their risk of developing these conditions in the future.
The survey interviewed 2,000 people across the UK, discovered that more than one in three adults in Scotland (36 per cent) only consume one or two portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
Almost one in four (24 per cent) said they simply forget to eat more while 18 per cent said it costs too much money and 12 per cent said “it was not convenient”.
The British Medical Association has previously called for free portions of fruit and vegetables to be provided to primary school pupils.
More than 8,000 children a year have been starting school overweight or obese in Scotland over the past decade.
“Hundreds of thousands of people are already living with either Type 2 diabetes or heart and circulatory disease in Scotland,” said Babs Evans of the partnership.
“They are potentially life-threatening conditions, but also largely preventable. A healthy diet is known to help people reduce their risk, but many of us can struggle with this.
“However, if our eating habits don’t change to include more healthy options like fruit and vegetables, the UK as a whole could be heading towards a major health crisis.”
The partnership has published a series of 22 healthy recipes designed to boost people’s intake of fruit and vegetables in a simple and easy manner.
It is also investing in a series of Holiday Lunch Clubs in North Lanarkshire to support families to change their eating habits for the better.
Launched earlier this year, the clubs are helping parents to think about the foods they eat and how they can make small changes towards a healthier lifestyle.