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FOR RELEASE: September 14 , 2005
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Energize and Mobilize - Eat Fruits, Vegetables, and Be Active
September is National 5 A Day Month

Throughout National 5 A Day Month, adults and children are encouraged to energize and mobilize around pursuing a healthy lifestyle by eating more fruits and vegetables, and increasing physical activity. Public health officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) recognize that poor diet, physical inactivity, overweight, and obesity are top public health problems and there is a need to address these issues immediately.

“For instance, in Oklahoma, only a mere 15 percent of Oklahoma adults eat five or more fruits and vegetables per day, ranking Oklahomans last in the nation to pursue this healthy habit,” said OSDH Chronic Disease Service Chief Adeline Yerkes.

The theme for this year’s National 5 A Day Month is "Energize and Mobilize - Eat Fruits, Vegetables, and Be Active." The theme calls attention to the need for adults and children to energize individually with fruits, vegetables, and physical activity. It also encourages people to mobilize as a community by encouraging environmental changes. Individuals can make local civic leaders, community and business leaders, and policymakers aware that the entire community benefits from access to affordable, high quality fruits and vegetables and safe opportunities for physical activity.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults and children eat 2½ to 6 ½ cups of colorful fruits and vegetables every day for better health. To find out how many cups of fruits and vegetables an individual adult or child needs, visit this Web site: www.mypyramid.gov. The dietary guidelines also recommend that children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily, while adults should get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, and to prevent weight gain, about 90 minutes a day.

“Improving dietary practices and increasing physical activity are major strategies for preventing many of the most common chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. While the National 5 A Day Month is a celebration, it does not take away from the fact that poor diet, physical inactivity, overweight, and obesity are top public health problems, along with quality of life and economic issues that impact health throughout the United States and in Oklahoma,” Yerkes said.

According to public health officials, some of the major issues regarding these problems include the following:

  • Obesity rates have doubled in children and tripled in adolescents over the last two decades, with one in seven young people now obese and one in three now overweight.
  • An estimated 60 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese.
  • One-quarter of Oklahoma adults are obese, ranking 13th in the nation.
  • Physical inactivity and unhealthy eating contribute to obesity and a number of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
  • In addition, the prolonged illness and disability associated with many chronic diseases decrease the quality of life for thousands of Oklahomans.
  • A mere 15 percent of Oklahoma adults eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables per day, ranking last in the nation.

Public health officials and the National 5 A Day Month campaign recommend the following things that you can do to help yourself, your family and your community become healthier:

  • Ask your county and local schools to implement and enforce healthy food and beverage standards in public buildings. Visit www.ca5aday.com/worksite for sample worksite standards and www.publichealthadvocacy.org for sample school standards.
  • Encourage community leaders to partner with grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and local farmers in their communities to ensure quality fruits and vegetables are available. If your city doesn’t have a farmers’ market, encourage local vendors and civic leaders to establish one.
  • Encourage developers and city planners to create “walkable” communities with sidewalks and trails, and establish more places where people can access affordable, quality fruits and vegetables.
  • Ask restaurants to provide healthy menu options at affordable prices.
  • Work with local schools and civic groups to establish school and community gardens.
  • Use your city’s recreational opportunities to create after-school or weekend programs for children while promoting active play and helping children adopt a physically active lifestyle. Visit www.cdc.gov/VERB and click on materials.

For more information about National 5 A Day Month, visit the National Cancer Institute’s 5 A Day Web site at www.5aday.gov/ or contact the OSDH Chronic Disease Service at (405) 271-4072.

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