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Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) has expressed its support for a group of former cabinet secretaries’ comprehensive plan to improve America’s physical and fiscal emergencies. The report, Lots to Lose: How America’s Health and Obesity Crisis Threatens our Economic Future, from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative, urges the public and private sectors to work together to achieve healthy families, schools, workplaces and communities, with a focus on existing best practices that can be implemented on a large scale to widen their impact and help reduce obesity in the United States.
The co-chairs recognized that because of the United States’ finite federal resources, any effective solution to the rising costs of obesity and health care will have to involve private- and public-sector partners. “There is no silver bullet,” acknowledged former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, “but we have identified numerous steps that show what is possible. We must all take action to beat this threat. America cannot afford for the obesity crisis to go unnoticed any longer.”
Several of the report’s strategies pinpointed areas that would help boost fruit and vegetable consumption to combat obesity and its related health care costs. One recommended strategy is a generic fruit and vegetable promotion program, paid for out of an expanded specialty crop block grant program, to establish a national pool of funding to promote specialty crop market promotion and nutrition education, modeled after PBH’s successful “Fruits & Veggies--More Matters” campaign. Among the other strategies outlined in the report were nutrition training in medical education; developing new dietary guidelines for a child’s first thousand days, covering pregnant women and children up to 2 years old; and creating a database of exemplary workplace wellness programs with cost/benefit analysis to help expand the implementation of best practices. At the request of the report’s co-chairs, Elizabeth Pivonka, president and CEO of Newark, Del.-based PBH, furnished them with data and information such as the National Action Plan report card. Led by the nonprofit PBH in 2010, the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance released a report card on progress made on strategies put forward in the 2005 National Action Plan.
“The report is full of solid bipartisan-supported strategies that if implemented, would result in a significant decline in obesity, other chronic diet related diseases, and related health care costs,” observed Pivonka. “PBH welcomes any strategies, ideas, and support to increase the consumption of fresh, frozen, canned, dried fruits and vegetables as well as 100 percent juice in America. We’ve long believed, and will continue to believe, that the promotion of all forms of fruits and vegetables would make huge strides in the overall effort to promote health through greater fruit and vegetable consumption.”