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Eat your greens, provincial campaign urges

The province wants you to take the advice your parents gave you as a child — eat your fruit and vegetables.

The province wants you to take the advice your parents gave you as a child — eat your fruit and vegetables.

Nova Scotia Health Promotion and Protection, along with the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Cancer Society launched a new social-marketing campaign yesterday in Halifax, urging people of the province to eat fruit and vegetables daily, whether they are fresh, frozen or canned.

Health Minister Maureen MacDonald said when a national survey was done recently, Nova Scotians fruit and vegetable consumption was quite low.

According to Statistics Canada, less than one-third of Nova Scotians ages 12 and over consumes the recommended five to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit per day.

“We suffer as a population from a lot of chronic diseases like heart disease, hyper-tension, diabetes, and fruit and vegetables and good nutrition are really the foundation on turning that situation around,” MacDonald said.

According to Health Canada, Nova Scotia also has the highest prevalence of income-related household food insecurity in the country.

Health Canada says this means many Nova Scotians are at a disadvantage to achieving recommended vegetable and fruit consumption targets.

Menna MacIsaac, the chief executive officer of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia, understands some families find it difficult to buy fruit and vegetables due to the cost. “It’s often the fresh produce that is most expensive and particularly in Nova Scotia, we have the second highest prices in produce in the country, so it’s a very real barrier to making good choices,” she said.

To offset this, the Goodness In Many Ways campaign, which encourages people to buy fruits and vegetables — whether fresh, frozen or canned — was launched yesterday.

“What we are trying to do is make people understand the nutritional value that’s available in more accessible options ... and incorporating that in their diet,” MacIsaac said.