Following the maxim "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," the World Health Organization launched a global campaign this month to boost the consumption of fruit and vegetables to save lives.
Pekka Puska, director of the WHO's division for noncommunicable disease prevention and control, said that a fruit- and vegetable-rich diet could save as many as 2.7 million lives annually around the world. WHO and the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization will jointly work out a program to promote such a diet to prevent cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer.
WHO estimates show that low consumption of fruit and vegetables is responsible for 31 percent of heart disease, at least 19 percent of gastrointestinal cancer and 11 percent of strokes.
A WHO/FAO document also said a minimum daily consumption of 400 grams (14.1 oz) of fruit and vegetables helps prevent heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
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