Health and Family Services Cabinet
Cabinet for Health and Family Services announces program to improve employee nutrition; 5 A Day Challenge aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 30, 2005) -- The Cabinet for Health and Family Services continues its employee health and wellness initiative with an emphasis on nutrition beginning July 5. The nutrition emphasis follows a recently concluded eight-week physical activity program called Get Moving, CHFS!, in which teams of Frankfort-based Cabinet employees collectively exercised the equivalent of more than 130,000 miles.
The initiative’s focus on nutrition is patterned after the nationally-recognized 5 A Day Challenge program sponsored by Produce for Better Health, the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control. Employees in teams of four will compete for prizes by tracking their fruit and vegetable consumption for five weeks. The goal of the program is to encourage participants to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day – the minimum daily recommendation from Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 published jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.
“We hope the concept of team eating will be too tempting a challenge for people to ignore,” said Emma Walters, chairwoman of the worksite wellness nutrition subcommittee. “The CHFS 5 A Day Challenge will help us be better informed about the enormous value fruits and vegetables have as part of a healthy lifestyle. By the end of the program, we hope people are eating more fruits and vegetables, even replacing less-healthy foods with more healthy choices and, ultimately, feeling better for it.”
Fruits and vegetables provide abundant benefits as part of a healthy diet. Eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day may help control blood pressure and diabetes and reduce the risk for cancer, heart disease and stroke. Fruits and vegetables are low in fat and calories and contain fiber, so including them in your daily diet may help with weight reduction and healthy weight maintenance. There also is compelling evidence that consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day may even help protect against the effects of aging.
The CHFS 5 A Day Challenge kicks off July 5 with a nutrition exhibition at the cabinet’s Frankfort headquarters. The exhibition will feature fruit and vegetable displays, cooking demonstrations and nutritional information. The CHFS 5 A Day Challenge will conclude Aug. 18 with a celebration event for participants.
The CHFS Worksite Health and Wellness initiative is designed to help employees improve their personal health through information, education and motivation to encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Future programs will focus on smoking cessation and stress reduction.