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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. |
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TRENTON – The NJ Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is sponsoring a series of events throughout the state in September to increase public awareness of the health benefits of consuming an average of five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The activities are being organized by DHSS’s “5 A Day” Coalition as part of “5 A Day” Month throughout the State of New Jersey.
The “5 A Day” Coalition, which is part of DHSS’s Division of Family Health Services, oversees programs and activities that are geared towards educating New Jersey residents on the importance of consuming at least 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, how to incorporate these eating patterns into a diet more easily, and the long-term health benefits involved.
New Jersey ranks 10th in the country in meeting the “5 A Day” goal, with 28% of adults eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day, according to the 2002 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey. Nationally, an average of 23% of adults consume fruits and vegetables according to the daily recommendation.
“While New Jerseyans eat more fruits and vegetables than the national average, the level of adherence to recommendations remains unacceptably low,” said Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. “Research has demonstrated that consumption of approximately five servings of fruit and vegetables daily confers significant reduction in the risk of developing cancers of the digestive and respiratory tracts compared to consumption of fewer than two servings per day.”
This year, nationally, more than 1.4 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and over 500,000 people will die of cancer. 35% of these deaths are estimated to be diet related.
“According to the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and the American Cancer Society, five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day are needed to reduce cancer risk and maintain good health,” said Dr. Lacy. “Prevention of disease is far better than treatment. Prevention through dietary modification is an important way for everyone to protect against disease and maintain their health. Parents can also help safeguard their children’s future health by encouraging development of appropriate eating patterns at a young age.”
All fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruits and vegetables are considered healthy components of the “5 A Day” program, if they do not include added sugars or fats. Fruits and vegetables, with the exception of avocados, olives and coconut, are naturally low in fat. However, those that contain heavy sauces, oils and syrups add extra, unwanted calories and cholesterol to a diet.
DHSS’s “5 A Day” Coalition will be bringing this message to New Jersey residents via children’s events, cultural festivals, educational classes, workshops, health fairs, research symposiums and supermarket campaigns. The events kick off this week and include:
· African American Arts & Heritage Festival (in collaboration with DHSS’s Minority & Multicultural Health Office, Rutgers University, the NJ Ecology Project)
Date and Time: Saturday, September 13, 2003, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: PNC Arts Center, Holmdel
Date and Time: Monday, September 15, 2003, 10 a.m. to 12 Noon
Location: Camcare, 3 Cooper Plaza, Camden
Date and Time: Wednesday, September 17, 2003, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Spanish Community Center, 3700 Ventnor Avenue, Atlantic City
Date and Time: Thursday, September 18, 2003, 12 Noon to 2 p.m.
Location: UMDNJ-RWJ Medical School, Piscataway
Description: 5 A Day Educational Campaign targeting minority populations
Date and Time: Friday, September 19, 2003
Location: Trenton Deliverance Church, 1100 S. Clinton Avenue, Trenton
· Verona Kids’ Day America (co-sponsored by the NJ 5 A Day Coalition)
Date and Time: Saturday, September 20, 2003, 12 Noon to 3 p.m.
Location: Verona Community Center, 880 Bloomfield Ave., Verona
Description: A community health and safety event for children and families
Date and Time: Wednesday, September 24, 2003, 10:00 a.m.
Location: United Progress Inc., 162 W. State Street, Trenton
Date and Time: Thursday, September 25, 2003, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Burlington Meeting House, High Street
Date and Time: Friday, September 26, 2003
Location: Villsburg Middle School, 107 Ivy Street, Newark
For additional information on the “5 A Day” program or events in your area, contact DHSS’s Division of Family Health Services at 609-292-9560 or check out DHSS on the web at www.state.nj.us/health/ .
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Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360