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With fruits and vegetables, more matters

With fruits and vegetables, more matters

For a while now, you’ve been trying to eat right, working to fit five fruits and vegetables into your daily routine.

The Williamson County Health Department may have some good or bad news for you depending on how successful you’ve been with that health message. This year is the last time September will officially be celebrated as National 5 A Day Month because the ‘5 A Day’ message is in the process of changing.  The new message is that five is good, but more is better!

“Five servings just aren’t enough for everyone to get the health benefits of fruits and vegetables,” says Lauren Oliver, Nutritionist at the Williamson County Health Department. “Young children should eat five servings a day, but older kids, teenage girls and active women should eat at least seven. Teenage boys and adult men need to bump up their servings even more, to at least nine servings every day.”

Starting next year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) will officially change all their nutrition material to reflect the change with a fruit and vegetable nutrition program called, Fruits & Veggies — More Matter. The new slogan will replace the 5 A Day message, which dates back to the early 1990’s. What’s the reason for the change?  Under the latest federal dietary guidelines, five servings of fruits and vegetables every day may not be enough and nutritionists are already working to educate the public with the updated health message.

The updated message also reflects the USDA’s new “MyPyramid” which replaced the former Food Guide Pyramid in 2005 and can be accessed at for individualized advice about healthy eating and physical activity for a healthier lifestyle.  To help consumers better understand the recommendations, advice for produce intake is now given in cups instead of servings.  Information is tailored to age, gender and activity level.

Plenty of scientific evidence exists to document the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.  Fruits and veggies are packed full of disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants (substances that neutralizes free radicals) and complex carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables are also naturally low in calories and sodium, cholesterol-free and virtually fat-free.

Good health through nutrition and activity may help reduce the burden that obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes places on Tennessee. For more information on the health benefits of fruits and vegetables or how to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet, contact the Williamson County Health Department at 615.794.1542.

For more information, please contact:

Narquita Kizzie, MS, CHES
Health Educator

Franklin Clinic, Williamson Co. Health Dept
1324 West Main Street
Franklin, TN 37064
615-794-1542- P
615-790-5967- F