Canadians not eating enough vegetables and fruit

While 87 per cent of Canadians are aware that eating vegetables and fruit can help prevent certain diseases, only 25 per cent are eating the recommended 5-10 servings of vegetables and fruit each day, according to a survey conducted as part of the 5 to 10 a day healthy eating campaign.

“These results support our understanding that adopting healthy eating behaviours is a very complex issue,” says Carol Dombrow, registered dietitian with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “We’re concerned about these results because research has shown that eating a variety of different vegetables and fruit, as part of an overall healthy diet, may reduce the risk of some chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer,” says Dombrow. “Canadians know this too, but somehow it’s not getting translated into action.”

To encourage Canadians to eat more vegetables and fruit, a new multimedia campaign is being launched across Canada by the 5 to 10 a day initiative. The campaign includes television, radio and print public service announcements, and educational materials for dietitians, schools and communities, such as posters and brochus. Information is also available on the web site:

The campaign focuses on serving size – “if it fits in your hand, it’s probably a serving size” – and the colors of vegetables and fruit.

“We want to show Canadians how easy it can be to eat 5 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit a day,” says Dombrow. “We know that eating a serving from each colour group is a good way to add variety to our diet. Each colour group tends to correspond to different combinations of nutrients. So the more colours we choose, the more health benefits we get.”

The 5 to 10 a day campaign is a joint initiative by the Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. The campaign encourages Canadians to follow a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating 5 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit each day as part of a healthy diet.

“By focusing on a few simple messages and working with national partners like the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society, we can help Canadians translate their awareness of the importance of eating vegetables and fruit into healthier choices,” says Ron Lemaire, Executive Vice President and Director of Marketing for the Canadian Produce Marketing Association.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation ( is a leading funder of heart and stroke research in Canada. The Foundation’s mission is to improve the health of Canadians by preventing and reducing disability and death from heart disease and stroke through research, health promotion and advocacy.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and to enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

The survey, commissioned by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, was administered to 3,003 households that are part of ACNielsen’s Homescan consumer panel. The survey was conducted over a five-week period between October 17 and November 26, 2005. A total of 2,497 surveys were analysed.

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