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New Zealand chosen to lead international meeting

New Zealand chosen to lead international meeting

New Zealand has won the bid to host the next International 5+ A Day/World Health Organisation symposium. Meeting in Christchurch in August 2004, 5+Aday will be joined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Produce for Better Health Foundation to host world experts and international 5 A Day programme implementers for a two day symposium to examine the science behind the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption for health and to share best practice programmes from different regions around the world.

The World Health Organisation, in recognition of the health benefits of fruit and vegetables, has called for the globalisation of the 5+ A Day message and is working in partnership with those experienced in best practice programmes to ensure that this happens.

“Here in New Zealand the 5+ A Day campaign has gained 80% recognition since its inception in 1994. Our being chosen as the country to host the next international symposium recognises the contribution and strength of the New Zealand programme,” states Paula Dudley, National Manager of 5+ A Day.

In New Zealand, the 1997 National Nutrition Survey showed that almost 50% of New Zealanders don’t eat the recommended minimal two servings of fruit per day and that a third ate fewer than 3 servings of vegetables. This is clearly recognised by the Ministry of Health’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Strategy, Healthy Eating – Healthy Action, which clearly outlines the need to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

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“Research shows that increased intake of fruit and vegetables provides a protective factor for health. For example even an 80gm increase in fruit intake per day - which is about half an apple - can have a dramatic effect on the risk of certain cancers, “says Don Matheson, Deputy Director-General of Public Health. “ An increase in fruit and vegetable consumption also has a role to play in addressing the escalating incidence of obesity by providing ways in which New Zealanders can reduce their energy consumption and benefit from the many naturally minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that fruit and vegetables provide.”

“Chairman of United Fresh, Mr Ron Becroft in announcing the success of New Zealand’s bid to host this prestigious event highlighted the importance this meeting will provide for profiling the leadership role New Zealand is playing in implementation of the message. He also emphasised the wonderful opportunity that the fruit and vegetable industry will have to showcase New Zealand and its fresh, green produce to the world.

“The New Zealand Fruit and vegetable industry never looked healthier – it’s their aim to ensure that New Zealanders can say the same,“ he concluded.

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