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5 + A Day the way for children's health

5 + A Day the way for children's health

5+A Day part of the answer for Improving Children's Health

5+A Day National Manager, Paula Dudley, is not at all surprised by the results of the National Children's Nutrition Survey, in fact they reinforce what she already suspected - that not all New Zealand children are eating the number of servings of fruit and vegetables recommended in the Food and Nutrition Guidelines. In fact the survey results show that only 40% of children eat the recommended number of servings of fruit (2 per day) and about only 60% met the recommended number of servings of vegetables (3 per day).

"We are also concerned by the increase in the levels of overweight and obesity and the risks that this has on long term health. We see increased consumption of fruit and vegetables as a positive way in which to address these issues. As much as an extra half an apple a day has been shown to have significant positive impact on health ," she states.

The 5+ A Day campaign has been active in New Zealand for some time now and has resulted in a high level of awareness - at the latest survey reaching 88%.

" What we need to do now is move awareness into action, and so 5 + A Day is focusing on changing eating behaviours. It is important that New Zealand children not only know that they should be eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, but that they are actually doing so," she adds.

"Fruit and vegetables not only provide a wide range of nutrients but also provide a low energy/calorie snack alternative. Here we have a natural product that comes in more varieties than one can imagine - so there's bound to be something to meet everyone's taste bud needs - not something you find with many other products."

The 5 + ADay campaign also recognizes the import role physical activity plays in energy balance and works closely with schools in its annual campaign to encourage this association. It is their way of helping to address the question of energy balance, health and well-being.

"We will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Health to support the implementation of the Government's Healthy Eating Healthy Action strategy to address the issues of overweight, obesity and their associated health risks. We see increased fruit and vegetable consumption as being an inexpensive and cost effective way of protecting the long term health of New Zealanders and are committed to ensuring that this country's children include fruit and vegetables into their daily diet," Paula concludes.

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