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WASHINGTON - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson and National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Andrew von Eschenbach last week announced a national campaign to reduce the risk of chronic diseases among African-American men.
The campaign will focus on motivating black men to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day to reduce their risk for diet-related diseases that disproportionately affect the black community. NCI's campaign to reach African-American men is among four national initiatives being launched by HHS.
"African-American men suffer much higher rates of almost every type of cancer than white men, and they're more likely to have heart disease and high blood pressure," said Secretary Thompson. "These leading causes of death are largely preventable through changes in our lifestyle choices. The 9 A Day campaign will help us to start emphasizing prevention of this epidemic by letting African-American men know the vital importance of eating fruits and vegetables to their overall health."
Although black men are among the most seriously affected by diet-related chronic diseases, they have the lowest consumption of fruits and vegetables overall, eating an average of only 3.1 servings a day of the nine recommended for men by federal nutrition policy, according to the HHS.
HHS and NCI will work together with several African-American organizations and other health organizations to help get the 9 A Day message out to black men. These organizations include the American Cancer Society (ACS), National Medical Association (NMA), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), and Black Entertainment Television (BET).
The campaign also includes national radio advertisements on ABC's Urban Advantage Network, as well as additional radio in the Washington, D.C., market; a new Web page for African-American men, www.9aday.cancer.gov; and a brochure for black men about the health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables and tips on how to eat 9 A Day. For a copy of the brochure, call NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).