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April 14, 2010

Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or

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Eating Fruits and Vegetables Has Life-long Health Benefits

April is Public Health Month

Lincoln—There’s a reason why your mom told you to eat your fruits and vegetables. They contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases, including stroke, other cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers, according to Dr. Joann Schaefer, the state’s Chief Medical Officer.

How many fruits and vegetables do you need to eat in order to see health benefits? The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a calculator that will tell you. It can be found at .

Start your kids early on a variety of fruits and vegetables, Dr. Schaefer says. Prime their taste buds for these and don’t be afraid to experiment with unusual ones. For fruits, try kiwis, mangos, papayas and pomegranates. For vegetables, try eggplant, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus. Mix up your choices on a food plate with a variety of colors for appeal. Make sure you set a good example by eating them yourself.

Eating fruits and vegetables is one part of an overall effort for wellness. Add physical activity, sufficient sleep, stress management, and other healthful options to achieve the highest degree of wellness possible.

“Overall wellness is the goal, and that can’t be achieved without eating fruits and vegetables,” Dr. Schaefer said. “April is Public Health Month in Nebraska, so it’s a great time to focus on healthy eating.”

Public health includes safe drinking water, immunizations, health data, regulation of health professionals and health care facilities, safe foods, and promotion of healthy behaviors, among other things.