Tag Archives: health

MP calls for subsidised fresh produce

Barrow-in-Furness MP John Woodcock has written to Environment Secretary Michael Gove calling on him ‘to include in the forthcoming child obesity strategy a measure to subsidise fresh fruit and vegetables in corner shops and convenience stores.’

The move comes as recent figures from the National Child Measurement Programme revealed that hundreds of children in his constituency were not getting a healthy start in life, with around a third of four- and five-year olds in the region being classed as overweight.

In his letter, Mr Woodcock says, ““Deeply shocking statistics show that 30 percent of four and five-year-olds in Barrow are overweight. As you know, children who do not get a healthy start in life are more likely to struggle at school and suffer health problems throughout their lives. Reducing child obesity is essential if we are to reduce the blight of inequality and poor life choices in Britain.”

His letter was backed by Action for Children, which runs seven Sure Start Children’s Centres throughout the area, but the charity also warned other action was also required. Michelle Doherty, service manager for the Furness Sure Start Children’s Centres, said, “Subsidising fresh fruit and vegetables would be a positive move. We would support the call for that. But subsidising those foods would not solve the issue. It has to be coupled with helping to show families how to prepare a decent healthy meal and how they can make that appeal to children.”

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The post MP calls for subsidised fresh produce appeared first on Hort News on 14 June 2018.

EU extends school fruit and veg scheme

The European Commission has published information on the uptake of its scheme to supply free fruit and vegetables in schools for the 2016-17 school year. The scheme supplies fruit and veg to schools in every EU country, apart from the UK and Sweden which have declined to take part.

During the 2016-2017 school year, more than 12.2 million children in 79,000 schools took part in the EU fruit and vegetables scheme and around 18 million children took part in the EU milk scheme. This represents more than 74,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables over the year.

Germany supplied the largest amount of fruit and vegetables (in financial terms) followed by Italy, France, Spain and Poland. In 2016-2017, apples were the most widely distributed fruit, along with pears, plums, peaches, nectarines, oranges, strawberries and bananas. Carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers were the most popular vegetables.

Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan said, “European farmers provide us with high quality, safe and healthy food, and through the School Scheme, our youngest citizens gain the health benefits of these products while also learning at an early age where our food comes from and the importance of taste and nutrition. €250 million from the Common Agricultural Policy will ensure the continuous rolling out of the EU School Scheme in the 2018-2019 school year.”

Photo Credit: pxhere

The post EU extends school fruit and veg scheme appeared first on Hort News on 21 March.

Purple potatoes reduce colon cancer risk

Scientists at Pennsylvania State University have found that a diet rich in colourful fruits and vegetables, and in particular purple potatoes, may help to prevent or stop colon cancer and bowel diseases, following trials on pigs.

In the study, pigs that were served a high calorie diet supplemented with purple-fleshed potatoes had less colonic mucosal interleukin-6 — IL-6 — compared to a control group. IL-6 is a protein that is important in inflammation, and elevated IL-6 levels are correlated with proteins, such as Ki-67, that are linked to the spread and growth of cancer cells.

“What we are learning is that food is a double-edge sword — it may promote disease, but it may also help prevent chronic diseases, like colon cancer,” said Jairam K.P. Vanamala, associate professor of food sciences at Penn State University. “What we don’t know is, ‘how does this food work on the molecular level?’ This study is a step in that direction.”

While the researchers used purple potatoes in this study, Vanamala said other colourful fruits and vegetables could prompt similar effects. “For example, white potatoes may have helpful compounds, but the purple potatoes have much greater concentrations of these anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant compounds,” he said. “We use the purple potato as a model and hope to investigate how other plants can be used in the future.”

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The post Purple potatoes reduce colon cancer risk appeared first on Hort News on 5 March 2018.

Eating fruit and veg. combats depression

US scientists have said that a diet which emphasises the consumption of vegetables, fruit and whole grains may lead to a reduced risk of depression.

Researchers from Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago found that those who followed the so-called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet were less likely to develop depression than people who did not. The study evaluated a total of 964 participants with an average age of 81 annually for approximately six-and-a-half years.

Each participant was monitored for symptoms of depression and filled out questionnaires about how often they ate various foods. The researchers examined how closely the participants’ reported diets adhered to different diets such as the DASH diet, a Mediterranean diet and the traditional Western diet, which is high in saturated fats and red meats and low in fruits and vegetables.

“There is evidence linking healthy lifestyle changes to lower rates of depression and this study sought to examine the role that diet plays in preventing depression,” explained study author Dr Laurel Cherian of Rush University Medical Centre. “Future studies are now needed to confirm these results and to determine the best nutritional components of the DASH diet to prevent depression later in life and to best help people keep their brains healthy.”

Photo Credit: Flickr

The post Eating fruit and veg. combats depression appeared first on Hort News on 5 March 2018.