The World Health Report 2003 published by WHO highlighted that low fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake is among the top 10 risk factors for disease prevention. If this is not enough to focus attention, then the fact that an estimated 2.7 million lives could be saved annually with sufficient levels of F&V consumption certainly should. But does it?

The fact is that wherever you live in the world a range of factors are impacting your health. Modern lifestyles and eating habits, more sedentary jobs, changed working environments, and a range of other factors have all combined to place each of us more at risk of chronic disease.

Consuming the recommended levels of F&V is a relatively simple and effective way of helping to reduce the impact of a wide range of serious – and largely preventable – health problems throughout the world.

Through activities such as this newsletter, the International Fruit & Vegetable Alliance is actively involved in encouraging efforts to increase the consumption of F&V globally for better health. While the science linking increased consumption to better health outcomes provides a strong foundation for action, there is no doubt that we need to better understand current consumption patterns and examine ways to effect behavioral change in order to make a long term difference.

The articles presented in this edition of the newsletter reflect this need to appreciate why consumption of F&V is not more in line with the potential health benefits.

If parents, doctors, public and private health practitioners, grower organizations, governments and other bodies are all convinced of the substantial health credentials, the question remains as to why consumption is not higher. Understanding the motivating factors for consumers is a critical part of this important health puzzle.

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