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Flags Fly As Minister Declares Meeting Open

9th August 2004


Flags Fly As Minister Declares Meeting Open

Representatives from 28 nations will answer the roll call today (Monday 9th August) as the Minster of Health declares the 4th International 5 A Day symposium open.

Offering something for everyone, the two day conference will begin with science and policy updates including overviews of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health and input from US Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Eric Bost and Ministers of Health from the Pacific Region.

"The World Health Organization is actively promoting the increased consumption of fruit and vegetables," says Dr Robert Beaglehole, WHO's Director, Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion. "The World Health Assembly recently adopted the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, which provides countries with a strong foundation for improving all aspects of nutrition. We are partnering with The Food and Agricultural Organization in this area and will be continuing to strengthen our work with all stakeholders to boost fruit and vegetable consumption for all sections of the community. WHO welcomes the participation of an increasing number of small island and developing nations to this year's 5-a-day conference "

A special session on the role that fruit and vegetable consumption can play in weight management will be lead by Dr Robert Beaglehole of the WHO, who with a panel of experts comprising Prof Boyd Swinburn, Dr Mary Serdula, Prof Clifford Tasman-Jones and Paul Jeffreys, will discuss how the 5 A Day message can incorporate obesity prevention.

With current scientific evidence pointing to fruit and vegetables role in the prevention of a number of non-communicable diseases, the need to increase consumption is heading the list of priorities in many countries, including New Zealand.

“Low fruit and vegetable consumption contributed to 1159 deaths – that’s 6% of all New Zealand deaths – in 1997. It is predicted that if each of us increased our fruit and vegetable consumption by just half a serve a day, by the year 2011 we could prevent a massive 334 deaths each year,” says Paula Dudley, General Manager of 5 + A Day.

Day two of the symposium will look specifically at how different parts of the world are working to create environmental changes that will encourage increased fruit and vegetable consumption. Speakers throughout the day will provide insights into what works in different settings including schools, workplaces, retail and via the media.

ENDS

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