About 5 A Day

Uncle Sam Wants You - to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Change in Federal Dietary Guidelines Addresses Deficit in the American Diet

Produce for Better Health Foundation 
CONTACT: Elizabeth Pivonka at 302-235-2329, ext. 15

5301 Limestone Road/Suite 101/Wilmington, DE 19808-1249
302-235-2329/Fax: 302-235-5555/www.5aday.com

WASHINGTON - Amidst changes to address the prominent issue of overweight and obesity among Americans, one major change to the newly released 2000 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans puts the spotlight on encouraging the public to eat more of something for good health: a new guideline devoted solely to fruits and vegetables. 

The new guideline states, "Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables daily." Although fruits and vegetables were mentioned in the last revision of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 1995, fruits and vegetables are given greater prominence by being given their own guideline in this 2000 edition. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy in the United States and establishes the science-based guidance on what Americans should eat to stay healthy.

Hundreds of scientific studies published since the Dietary Guidelines were last revised indicate that high fruit and vegetable consumption helps prevent cancer, heart disease, stroke, and plays a preventive role in birth defects, cataract formation, hypertension, asthma, diverticulosis, obesity and diabetes. A free copy of a report summarizing the role of fruits and vegetables in preventing disease can be ordered by logging onto www.5aday.com.

"Fruits and vegetables are the only exception to the state of over-consumption in the United States - in fact, Americans are actually suffering from a large deficit in this area," said Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., president of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, which launched a national campaign * in February 1999 - at the onset of the Dietary Guidelines revision process - to advocate a greater prominence for fruits and vegetables in the federal guidelines. "This new, separate guideline is a critical step to jump start fruit and vegetable intake, which will improve the health status of all Americans." 

"We applaud the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services for placing greater emphasis on plant-based foods in this edition of the Dietary Guidelines, especially fruits and vegetables," said Dr. Margo Wootan, nutrition scientist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "The government needs to do more than just publish a pamphlet, cross its fingers, and hope that Americans eat better. The federal government needs to launch programs and implement policies that make the healthy choice the easy choice." 

To advocate for policies and programs that promote health eating and physical activity, the Produce for Better Health Foundation, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and several other consumer, health, and physical activity organizations have joined in a new National Alliance for Nutrition & Activity (NANA). NANA is working to create a healthier America through healthy eating and physical activity, including greater funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the 5 A Day Program - the largest federal nutrition education program targeted to the general public, which has a mere $1 million communications budget. CDC's entire division of nutrition and physical activity has just $6.5 million dollars. In contrast, CDC has $100 million for anti-tobacco programs, though unhealthy eating and physical inactivity kill a similar number of people.

For information about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, log on to www.usda.gov/cnpp.

* Organizations that joined the "Fruits and Vegetables First" campaign included AARP, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Institute for Cancer Research, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the American Diabetes Association, as well as hundreds of state and local organizations and health professionals nationwide.

The Produce for Better Health Foundation is the catalyst for creating a healthier America through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.  Together with its founding partner, the National Cancer Institute, and an expanding base of other health-oriented non-profits, government agencies, and businesses, the non-profit Foundation sponsors the national 5 A Day for Better Health Program.