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Gov. Blagojevich proclaims March as Nutrition Month; urges parents, schools and communities to promote better nutrition          Send a link to a friend

Department of Human Services announces new campaign, 'Fruits and Veggies -- More Matters'

[March 29, 2007]  SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich has proclaimed March as Nutrition Month in Illinois. Under the governorís direction, the Illinois Department of Human Services, along with the Produce for Better Health Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also unveiled a new public health initiative, "Fruits & Veggies -- More Matters," to inspire and encourage Illinois families to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Department of Human Services Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D., joined the Illinois Interagency Nutrition Council to launch the new campaign on March 21 at the sixth annual March Nutrition Month in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Springfield.

"Eating fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods is a key first step toward being healthy and staying fit," Blagojevich said. "March Nutrition Month is a great opportunity to make families across Illinois be aware of the health benefits of eating right, and that means eating at least five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day."

While research indicates that more than 50 percent of adult consumers know they need to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, more than 90 percent of all Americans do not eat the recommended amount. Only 12.6 percent of Illinois adults reported eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. While research has also found that Americans are aware of the health benefits of eating fruit and veggies, most consumers would need to at least double the amount they currently consume in order to meet the new dietary guidelines.

According to the Illinois Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, more than 36 percent of Illinoisans are overweight, and more than 20 percent are at risk because of obesity. Over 13 percent of Illinois children are overweight. At the same time 8 percent of Illinois households do not have routine access to adequate amounts of food.

"I encourage all Illinois families to support food and nutrition programs and establish healthful eating habits," Adams said. "Having enough to eat and access to a variety of foods, as well as daily physical activity, are paramount if one is to be fit and maintain a healthy weight. Eating fruits and vegetables and walking are great first steps towards getting in shape."

Special Recognition awards were presented to the following individuals and agencies for their leadership and support of nutrition programs and physical activity for Illinois families: U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin; Rep. Tom Cross, Illinois House Republican leader; state Sen. William Delgado; state Sen. Mattie Hunter; state Sen. Don Harmon; Dennis Smith, executive director of Northern Illinois Food Bank; Janet E. Maruna, executive director for the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies; the Rock Island/Milan School District 41 Head Start program; Macon County Mental Health Board Teen REACH program, "Youth with a Positive Direction"; and the Springfield Urban League Teen REACH program.

The Illinois Department of Human Services administers several USDA Food and Nutrition Service programs, including food stamps; the Emergency Food Program; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children; the Commodity Supplemental Nutrition Program; and the WIC and Senior Farmersí Market Nutrition programs.

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The Interagency Nutrition Council includes representatives from the Department of Human Services and other agencies who work with the USDA Food and Nutrition programs and nonprofit organizations involved in food security and nutrition issues. Interagency Nutrition Council activities will partner with Fruits & Veggies -- More Matters, the new national public health initiative being created to encourage Americans to eat more fruits and veggies: fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100 percent juice. It is attainable and easy for people to understand; it is simply to eat more fruits and veggies at every eating occasion.

Fruits & Veggies -- More Matters is a dynamic initiative that consumers will see in stores, online, at home and on packaging. A new online resource for consumers, www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org, offers recipes, serving ideas and shopping advice. It will include activities and tips for getting children involved and for exploring the different varieties of fruits and veggies that the whole family loves to eat. Consumers will have the opportunity to share their own easy and fun serving ideas by submitting them online.

Fruits & Veggies -- More Matters replaces the existing 5 A Day awareness program and will leverage the 5 A Day heritage and success to further inspire and support consumers to eat more fruits and vegetables, showcasing the unrivaled combination of great taste, nutrition, abundant variety and various product forms -- fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100 percent juice. It also will build upon the body of science that indicates that increased daily consumption of fruits and vegetables may help prevent many chronic diseases.

The development of the initiative is being led by Produce for Better Health Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with The Culinary Institute of America and other organizations committed to achieving increased daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.

For more information about the new Fruits and Veggies -- More Matters campaign, visit www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org and www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov.

For more information about the state nutrition programs, contact Penny Roth of the Illinois Department of Human Services, Bureau of Family Nutrition, at 217-782-2166; visit the departmentís online site; or check out the Interagency Nutrition Council postings at http://inc.aces.uiuc.edu.

(Governor's Nutrition Month proclamation) [To download Adobe Acrobat Reader for the PDF file, click here.]

[Text from file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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