Insufficient consumption of vegetables and fruit is linked with digestive problems, colo-rectal cancer and asthma. It the case of asthma, it may be that people are less able to fight off allergic reactions due to a lack of antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, which boost the immune system.
Between 1961 and 1985, average weekly consumption in the UK of fresh fruit fell by 26%, of green vegetables by 51% and of potatoes by 37%. 90% of land in Europe and America is used to raise fodder for animals; this area is 14 times more than that required to supply a vegetarian diet of the same protein and calorific value. At least eight vegetarians could be fed with the same quantity of grain as is required to produce stock feed for one average meat-eating person. In 1991, there were 3.6 million vegetarians in Britain, 7% of the population, compared with 1.5 million in 1985 and and estimated 100,000 in 1945.