(Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, 2003.) Hence, the two top causes of these diseases are highly preventable. "It has been estimated that eating at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day could reduce the risk of deaths from chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer by up to 20%." (5 A DAY health benefits, 2003, Department of Health’s The NHS Plan, 2000.) Breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and gastric cancer are just a few of the cancers that can be prevented.
Loaded with plenty of vitamins and minerals, these foods also contain phytochemicals which are "non-nutritive plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties," as defined by Phytochemicals (n.d.). Phytochemicals include flavonoids and fiber along with many other substances that are necessary for sustaining life. Flavonoids are found in the colored portions of the fruits and vegetables prevent the release of histamines, fight free radicals, and increase blood circulation and the immune system. Phytochemicals perform various functions including the prevention of cancer cell replication, prevention of cell damage, and the lowering of cholesterol levels. Amazingly, there are more than 900 different phytochemicals that have currently been identified and one vegetable serving contains 100 different phytochemicals. …
Diet and cancer: the evidence (2006) reports, "EPIC scientists recently found that eating foods high in fiber can reduce one’s risk of bowel cancer. People who ate the most fiber had 40% less bowel cancer risk than people who ate the least. Some other large studies have supported these findings." There is much evidence to support the benefits of eating an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables. Groups such as The NHS Plan, The NHS Cancer Plan and the National Service Frameworks for Coronary Heart Disease, Diabetes and Older People also stress diet/nutrition as a top factor in the strategy of prevention. (Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, 2003.)
These are just a few reasons why the government created the 5 A DAY programme. The goal of this programme is to inform the public of health benefits gained by consuming fruits and vegetables via targeted action. Most people in England consume less than three servings per day. Children eat less fruits and vegetables than adults. The reasons that people eat such few servings include the cost, availability, and quality especially after inconveniences such as shipping, storing, preserving, etc. The government’s 5 A DAY programme aims to raise awareness and change the public’s attitude. Many people feel that the cost, preparation, "lack of taste", and other inconveniences are not worth it. In today’s hurried society, it seems easier to grab something packaged, processed, and "less expensive". But the cost of one’s health and quality of life is quite high and more expensive in the long run.
Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption (2003) lists the target actions of the government in implementing and enforcing the programme:
National School Fruit Scheme
Local 5

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