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5 A Day ads dubbed a failure as fruit and veg intake falls

LONDON - The government's '5 A Day' healthy eating ad push, designed to get people to up their fruit and vegetable intake, has been dubbed a failure after research suggested that people are eating less than they were before.

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The campaign kicked off in August, including television and radio ads running on donated airtime on every terrestrial and digital channel, and was managed by the Department of Health.

Based around the strapline "Just eat more", the executions include a teen-targeted ad featuring a basketball team playing with giant fruit and vegetables and a 30-second film targeting mothers with pre-school children, showing fruit and vegetables selling themselves.

It was part of a wider scheme that saw the introduction of a 5 A Day logo on fruit, vegetables and other products that could count towards the five portions a day.

Research by the government in 2002 found that women ate 2.9 portions a day on average, while men ate 2.7 portions. But a new survey of 2,645 users of the website DailyDietTracker.co.uk in October found that men ate 2.3 portions while women only ate 1.6 portions.

Jacqueline Hewitt, dietician at DailyDietTracker.co.uk, said: "Our figures reveal an alarmingly low fruit and vegetable consumption, clearly more needs to be achieved by way of educating the public on the importance of these elements in our diet."

The government has hit back at the claims saying that fruit and vegetable consumption throughout the year varies.

"Government surveys take account of seasonal variations in fruit and vegetable intake through the year and show that current average consumption is 2.7 in men and 2.9 in women."

Earlier research has shown that there is high awareness among people that five portions was the recommended amount for a healthy lifestyle.

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