A new guide to make it easier for people to increase their intake of fruit and vegetables was launched by the Government today.
As efforts to tackle the emerging obesity epidemic continue, the free Five a Day Made Easy booklet aims to kick-start the nation’s healthy eating habits.
It includes money-off vouchers for fruit and vegetables and tips on how to make meals more interesting to ensure people eat the recommended five a day.
Last week Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson urged adults to exercise for at least 30 minutes five times a week in order to improve their health.
Today the battleground moved to the nation’s diet as ministers also prepared for an obesity summit later in the week.
The new guide will be available at supermarkets, newsagents, leisure centres and hairdressers across England.
It includes advice on how to eat more fruit and vegetables on a budget, cooking lessons and tips from people across the country who took part in a poll organised by the Department of Health.
The current average intake of fruit and vegetables is just 2.8 a day.
Only 13 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women eat the recommended five portions or more, despite evidence from health experts that a healthy diet can cut the risk of cancer, heart disease and other serious conditions.
Angela Towers, 5-A-Day co-ordinator, said: “Everybody knows they should be eating more fruit and veg, but not everyone knows how.
“Five A Day Made Easy is designed to give people simple ideas on how to eat more healthily, without causing arguments at mealtimes.”
Conservative shadow health and education secretary Tim Yeo said research warning that a third of Britons could be obese by 2010 should act as a wake-up to the Government.
“Their greatest failing on obesity has been to ignore calls from experts to implement a coherent strategy that would cut across all departments and include those outside politics who can make a real difference.
“This was the criticism of the Health Select Committee in 2001 and it was voiced again the Wanless Report in 2004,” he said.
“The Conservative Party has already called on the Government to appoint a Public Health Commissioner to ensure that public health issues get the attention they deserve.
“We are now consulting with experts from outside politics to ensure that the next Conservative Government will be able to deliver the coherent strategy that is so desperately needed,” Mr Yeo added.
Revision date: July 8, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD