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Can We Afford Not To?

17th June 2004

Can we afford not to?

The 5+ A Day programme in New Zealand is delighted that the Cancer Society is challenging New Zealander's barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption.

General Manger of 5+ A Day, Paula Dudley says that although the 5+A Day has raised awareness of the need to eat at least three servings of vegetables and two of fruit a day to 88 %, barriers to taking action and changing long term behaviour still need work.

"The question that this campaign raises is can you afford not to eat more fruit and vegetables if you wish to protect your health?" asks Ms Dudley. "The Ministry of Health's Report "Looking Up Stream" attributed approximately 30% of the 8500 deaths in 1997 to the joint effect of dietary factors, including 6% to inadequate vegetable and fruit consumption, so drawing attention to the message by adding the Cancer Society Campaign is a very positive move for New Zealand health."

"The Cancer Society research has helped to identify just what the barriers to consumption are. Now all of those involved in raising the awareness of the role that fruit and vegetables can have in protecting against disease can work to break these barriers down," she stated.

This will be taken even further after the 4th International 5ADay Symposium being held in Christchurch in August when international cancer agencies and research centres will share best practices and develop a list of most successful strategic actions.

Alongside this 5+ A Day will host a WHO co-ordinated workshop for Pacific Islands representatives on the promotion of fruit and vegetables consumption.

"The message of 5+ A Day is a global message which we are all working on at a local level to implement. In New Zealand 5+ A Day is looking to work in partnership with such organizations as the Cancer Society to promote not only fruit and vegetable consumption but also variety through promotion of our Colour Way logo. Getting New Zealanders to eat not only more, but also a wider variety of fruit and vegetables that this country produces could provide health benefits and reduce the number of lives lost to non-communicable diseases. Can we really afford not to make sure that this happens? " Ms Dudley concluded.

END

The 4th International 5 A Day Symposium is to be held in Christchurch from 9th - 10th August 2004. This will be followed by the post symposium meetings of cancer agencies and research centres and Pacific Islands representatives. Further information on the 5 A Day Symposium is available on the website www.5aday.co.nz

About United Fresh

Ten years ago a small group of far sighted people established United Fresh, a voluntarily funded, non profit, produce industry organization.

From this initial group has come the generic 5+ A Day programme, a programme that not only has become the central strand that binds all aspects of the fruit and vegetable value chain but also the recognised cornerstone of our nation's Public Health mantra.

It is under this banner that government, non government, health professionals, educators and industry have come together to promote fruit and vegetables for better health.

United Fresh would like to take this opportunity to thank all of its partners for their continued support of the 5 + A Day message.


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