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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 May, 2004, 09:15 GMT 10:15 UK
Healthy eating guide is launched
Fruit breakfast
Fruit is part of a healthy diet
The government has launched a guide to help people eat healthily and up their consumption of fruit and vegetables.

The free Five A Day Made Easy booklet includes money-off vouchers, tips on how to make meals more interesting and advice on healthy eating on a budget.

It will be available at supermarkets, newsagents, leisure centres and hairdressers across England.

Experts recommend that we eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and exercise five times a week.

Five portions a day
One portion of fruit or vegetables is equivalent to 80 grams (3 ounces)
This could be one medium apple, two small satsumas, or three heaped tablespoonfuls of cooked carrots, peas or sweetcorn
Frozen, canned, 100% juice and dried fruit and vegetables all count
A glass of 100% fruit juice only counts once a day, however much you drink
One portion of dried fruit also counts
There is strong evidence that a healthy diet can cut the risk of cancer, heart disease and other serious conditions.

However, the current average intake of fruit and vegetables is just 2.8 a day.

Only 13% of men and 15% of women eat the recommended five portions or more.

Angela Towers, 5-A-Day co-ordinator, said: "Everybody knows they should be eating more fruit and veg, but not everyone knows how.

"Five A Day Made Easy is designed to give people simple ideas on how to eat more healthily, without causing arguments at mealtimes."

Obesity threat

Conservative shadow health and education secretary Tim Yeo said ministers had a duty to intensify efforts to try to reduce obesity in levels as research had shown that a third of Britons could be obese by 2010.

He said: "Their greatest failing on obesity has been to ignore calls from experts to implement a coherent strategy that would cut across all departments and include those outside politics who can make a real difference.

"The Conservative Party has already called on the government to appoint a Public Health Commissioner to ensure that public health issues get the attention they deserve.

"We are now consulting with experts from outside politics to ensure that the next Conservative Government will be able to deliver the coherent strategy that is so desperately needed."

Paul Burstow, for the Liberal Democrats, said: "It is the role of the government to give people the information they need to make healthy choices.

"This is a good start. But people really need clear information on what is in the food they are buying.

"A clear traffic light labelling system on the front of every food package is what is needed to tackle the rising tide of obesity.

"Whilst it makes sense to give people information and encourage them to take up more healthy diets, government also has a responsibility to tackle the food industry and encourage it to produce more healthy food in the first place."

A copy of the booklet is available by calling 0870 155 5455 or e-mailing dh@prolog.uk.com.

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