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Minister launches unique healthy diet website

June 9 2000 Speech Notes, Annette King, Minister Of Health

Minister launches unique healthy diet website

Lyall Bay School

I am very glad to be here this morning to launch a positive initiative that encourages our children to make healthy eating choices. Turners and Growers have developed a website full of excellent information on vegetables and fruit which supports the Health and Physical Activity curriculum.

As I have believed for as long as I can remember, a healthy diet, which includes at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day, is a key part of being healthy and staying healthy. Fruit and vegetables are low in fat and high in essential vitamins and minerals, making them the perfect snack.

The Ministry of Health promotes fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet through its Food and Nutrition Guidelines. The Guidelines recommend that everyone eats at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day. Other groups like the Heart Foundation, the Cancer Society and the Nutrition Foundation promote the same message. It is great to see producer groups like Turners and Growers helping to spread the word.

The New Zealand Health Strategy, which was released for discussion recently, focuses on improving the health of New Zealanders. Twelve objectives have been chosen for immediate action to improve the health status of the population and reducing inequalities in health. One of the twelve key objectives is to improve nutrition and reduce obesity. Several of the other objectives are also influenced by good nutrition, like reducing the incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

In 1997 the Ministry of Health surveyed the eating patterns of New Zealand adults. The National Nutrition Survey found that about two-thirds of New Zealanders were eating the recommended three or more servings of vegetables each day, but less than half were eating enough fruit each day.

We don’t know how children are doing, which is why the Ministry of Health is planning New Zealand’s first Children’s Nutrition Survey. The survey will begin next year and will look at what New Zealand children are eating.

Vegetables and fruit are a really important part of a healthy diet. Last year the Ministry of Health published Our Health, Our Future, which is a comprehensive look at our health. We all know how important it is for our health to be smoke free, but many of you may not realise the benefits that a healthy diet can have for your health.

Our Health, Our Future found that if all New Zealanders had a healthy diet, including at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day, then the overall benefit to our health would be equivalent to everyone in New Zealand giving up smoking. So eating healthy foods really does make a difference.

Turners and Growers believe their responsibility goes beyond providing high quality vegetables and fruit for us to eat, that it also extends to promoting healthy eating. They have teamed up with the Wendy Pye Group to create an interactive website ‘You Are What You Eat’. The site contains useful and accurate information for children about vegetables and fruit and healthy eating.

The website has been designed to interest and educate children. There are a whole variety of activities, recipes and games. For the teacher there are useful links to other websites and ideas for lessons.

It is really important that we all work together to promote fruit and vegetables. That includes the Government, schools, health agencies and the food industry. I am very pleased to launch this initiative of Turners and Growers. It will help to promote the important message of 5+ a day for vegetables and fruit. 5+ a day must be good for all of us.

NB: The website can be contacted at http://www.sunshine.co.nz

Once in click on the New Zealand flag and go to "You are What You Eat".


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