College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources help launch new national food awareness campaign

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Carissa Poon, (808) 956-4124
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Posted: Mar 15, 2007

HONOLULU — In an effort to promote the importance of fruits and vegetables in our daily diet, beginning March 19, the Cooperative Extension Service Office of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at UH Mānoa (CES-CTAHR), will help launch a national initiative, "Fruits & Veggies-More Matters," hosted by the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CTAHR's Cooperative Extension Service will serve as the state program coordinator for the Hawaiʻi initiative.

"Fruits & Veggies-More Matters is designed to help Americans overcome common everyday barriers to eating fruits and vegetables," said Carissa Poon, CTAHR‘s Hawaiʻi Foods for Wellness Project Coordinator. "These include differing tastes within a family, not knowing how to prepare them or keep them fresh, or simply not liking them."

The new initiative promotes new daily consumption guidelines implemented by the National Fruit and Vegetable Program, formerly known as the 5 A Day for Better Health Program. Since 1991, the national 5 A Day for Better Health Program has been dedicated to promoting healthy eating through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. While efforts raised awareness, public health recommendations were not met.

According to research, 50 percent of adult consumers know they need to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but more than 90 percent of all Americans do not eat the recommended amount.

The new guidelines included in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that people double the amount of fruits and vegetables that they consume. The recommendations range from five to 13 servings of fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables, or 100 percent juices.

"In view of the new dietary guidelines increasing the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, a new consumer message was needed to build on the increased awareness and move toward changing behavior," said Mary Kay Solera, CDC‘s Fruit and Vegetable Program Manager. "The program will leverage the 5 A Day heritage and success to further inspire and support consumers to eat more, showcasing the unrivaled combination of great taste, nutrition, abundant variety and various product forms."

Working closely with health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PBH conducted an in-depth analysis of existing programs focused on encouraging healthy eating and conducted original research to better assess consumer‘s needs. The visual identity of the Fruits & Veggies-More Matters brand was evaluated by a wide variety of consumers of varying ethnicities, income, geographic location and age.

The Hawaiʻi steering committee is comprised of representatives from the American Heart Association, Dole Foods, Honolulu Poi Company, UH Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Services Agency and the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. The committee will lead efforts to heighten public awareness and overcome barriers such as availability, convenience and cost. Members will also be recruiting others to join in a campaign to create environments that enable people to include fruits and vegetables at every eating occasion.

To learn more about the campaign, obtain free recipes, serving ideas and shopping advice, visit

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