Ever since the forced retirement of the 5-a-Day program brought on by the introduction of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that basically doubled the recommendation on fruits and veggies, the Total Daily Per Capita Consumption for Americans has gone nowhere. It is still where it was when 5-a-Day was retired over a decade ago ... stagnated for 10 years.
Question: When 5-a-Day was retired after a commendable 15-year run, had the Total Daily Per Capita Consumption of fruits and veggies in all forms ever come close to or maybe even reach the 5-a-Day’s clearly stated goal of five servings a day for fruits and veggies? Did 5-a-Day ever get Americans to 5 a day?
Take a look at where the figure was officially just before 2005. The official data and analysis source is the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey/What We Eat in America Database information (not PBH) used by the USDA/Health and Human Services to develop the DGAs.
During the period leading into the revised 2005 DGAs and the retirement of 5-a-Day, the Total Daily Per Capita Consumption of fruits and veggies in all forms by Americans was 2.5 cups a day (2 servings per cup), meaning that Americans were eating about 5 servings a day of fruits and veggies, as in 5-a-Day.
So, Americans of all ages were told to “eat 5 servings a day” up until 2006, and apparently they did. After 5-a-Day was retired, for the next 10 years or so Americans have been told that More Matters. But apparently More Matters doesn’t matter, in spite of its good social media metrics, as the Total Daily Per Capita Consumption has remained at the 2005 level or slightly below; around 2.5 cups or 5 servings a day (in the pre-2005 DGA measurement terminology).
5-a-Day apparently worked. More Matters apparently has not worked.
Maybe the simplicity, clarity and consistency of the goal-oriented 5-a-Day message — eat 5 servings a day for better health (helped along in its later years by a 5-color guidance system for communicating and connecting health and variety) got some of the fundamental “blocking and tackling” marketing strategies right.
By the way, in case you missed this, the number 5 is still highly relevant.
There are 10 servings in 5 cups, which is inside the 4.5 to 6.5 cups-per-day range recommended by the DGAs since 2005 and twice as much as Americans are eating today.
The number 5 might be coming out of retirement, revitalized and integrated into a new privatized marketing initiative including a 5-color guidance system to help all Americans reach both their amount and variety goal for fruits and veggies every day.
This new privatized branded initiative is called ...
The Colors of Health 5 Cups. 5 Colors. Every Day. Ask about it.
John Sauve is co-founder and partner in the Portland, Maine-based Food and Wellness Group LLC, which created The Colors of Health, a goal-oriented color-guided initiative designed to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.