“Vegetables and Fruit – the best choice for your health”
(“Warzywa i owoce, najlepszym wyborem dla Twojego zdrowia”) – this is the slogan of the 13th Congress on Promotion of Vegetables and Fruit in Warsaw
The 13th Congress on Promotion of Vegetables and Fruit began in Warsaw on 19th September. The event, which is organised in a different country every year, is held this time in Poland, where recognised subject matter experts from 30 countries all around the world discuss topics connected for instance with the consumption and nutritional value of vegetables and fruit as well as global trends in the consumption of vegetables and fruit. Within the first hours of the Congress, the Declaration for the Support and Promotion of the Consumption of Vegetables and Fruit was signed.
Vegetables and fruit should constitute the basis of a balanced diet but unfortunately, the low consumption of the products from that group is a global problem. In the majority of the countries in Europe, vegetables and fruit are not consumed in sufficient amounts – the consumption is lower than the minimum 400 g daily per person, recommended by WHO. Therefore, countries conduct activities aiming at increasing the consumption of the products from those groups in order to improve the quality of life.
During the official opening of the Congress, the representatives of the member states of the AIAM5 Alliance signed the previously developed Declaration. The document includes the obligation to support any activities as well as promotional and information initiatives aiming at increasing the consumption of vegetables and fruit through the exchange of best practices, in particular by popularising the “5 a day idea”. This is particularly significant due to the fact that vegetables and fruit are of real importance in the fight against the diet-related diseases as well as non-communicable diseases. Therefore, the members of the Alliance undertook in the Declaration e.g. to support the initiative of the International Year of Vegetables and Fruit through the activities addressed to national governments undertaken as part of the Global Plan of Action for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020.
“Our aim is to draw the attention of the governments of particular countries, international institutions and authorities as well as the representatives of various sectors to the fact of how important the issue regarding the consumption of vegetables and fruit is. We meet at the Congress every year in order to summarise our activities and sign the Declaration regarding those issues, with which we have been dealing during the entire year”, said Manuel Monino Gomez, Coordinator of the AIAM5 Global Alliance for the promotion of fruit and vegetable consumption "5 a day".
During the opening of the Congress, dr Czesław Siekierski – Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament congratulated the organisers on the fact that they managed to give such importance to the issue regarding the consumption of vegetables and fruit. He underlined that this was possible thanks to annual meetings as well as the day-to-day work of their participants and organisers. He also added that “vegetables and fruit need support both at the international level, e.g. from the European Union, but also e.g. from educational institutions because education regarding the role of vegetables and fruit in a daily diet should be skilfully implemented”. Also prof. dr hab. n. med. Mirosław Jarosz, Director of the Food and Nutrition Institute in Warsaw, who has been conducting educational campaigns targeted at the general public and schools for many years, mentioned the role of education also among the youngest people: “Thanks to the educational programmes conducted by us, obesity among children has decreased by 3%, which shows that there is return on investments in information programmes in the form of the improvement of the state of health”.
“By signing the Declaration, every country, including Poland, acknowledges that fruit and vegetables should be recognised as the priority in the policies for the promotion of health and the policies for the prevention and control over the diseases related to diet and eating patterns”, added Julian Pawlak, President of the Polish Association of Juices Producers (KUPS). “We are obliged to take care of the improvement of the economic and social conditions, support the local agricultural production, educate about nutrition as well as initiate, popularise and support scientific works connected with confirming the properties of fruit and vegetables and popularise them among the wide audience”.
To sum up with the words of Jens Schaps – Director of Agriculture Markets, DG AGRI, representative of the European Commission, who paraphrased a well-known English saying – “5 portions a day keeps the doctor away”!