FAO encourages fruit, vegetable consumption in challenge

AS it turns out, we need more than an apple a day to keep the doctor away.

In fact, we need approximately 400 grams of fruits and vegetables daily, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

In celebration of the 2021 International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV), the need for the production and consumption of healthy and nutritious food remains at the forefront of discussions and efforts to ensure a healthy planet and the health of all people. The FAO said in a release that while it is recognised that access and prices can affect the ability to consume healthier diets, it has come up with four social media challenges to encourage more consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Describing the challenges as fun and family-friendly, FAO in Latin America and the Caribbean launched the series to raise awareness on the important role of fruits and vegetables to nutrition, food security, health, and to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

FAO Subregional Coordinator Renata Clarke said that the four social media challenges — #BackyardChallenge, #UglyFruitChallenge, #Namethefruitchallenge or #Namethevegchallenge, and #Tastethefruitchallenge or #Tastethevegchallenge — present an educational and interactive way to encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables. With the alarming cases of childhood obesity and diabetes across the region, she believes this platform not only provides an opportunity for learning, but for behavioural changes in food consumption, which can lead to a longer and healthier lifespan.

“Since the first [coronavirus] pandemic lockdown in 2020, access to fruits and vegetables was a concern for many persons who started planting their own food and setting up backyard gardens to ensure their food supply was adequate and readily available. We also noted that many parents who had to find creative ways of educating their children as schools remained closed involved their children in backyard farming as a fun outdoor activity,” she said.

FAO said it not only aims to raise awareness on IYFV, but also to encourage people to get involved using their social media platforms, maintaining healthy diets, and sharing in this activity with family and friends in their safe spaces, so that together we can influence the consumption of healthy diets inclusive of fruits and vegetables.


In this challenge, individuals are encouraged to share a creative 60-second video or a photo of the fruits or vegetables harvested from their gardens using the hashtags #IYFV2021 and #Backyardchallenge.


In this challenge, if you have the ugly fruit fever and are eating fruits that look ugly to others, you are invited to share a creative 60-second video of this using the hashtags #IYFV2021 and #uglyfruitchallenge.

#Namethefruitchallenge or #Namethevegchallenge

Individuals are encouraged to share a creative 60-second video identifying a fruit or vegetable by looking at a photo or the actual fruit or vegetable and trying to guess the name, using the hashtags #IYFV2021 and #Namethefruitchallenge or #Namethevegchallenge.

#Tastethefruitchallenge or #Tastethevegchallenge

In the final challenge, people are encouraged to taste a fruit or vegetable blind-folded, and then identify the fruit based on the taste, using the hashtags #IYFV2021 and #Tastethefruitchallenge or #Tastethevegchallenge in a video of 60 seconds or less.

FAO said all four challenges are open to the public and individuals may participate as often as they wish by posting their photos and videos on all social media platforms using the hashtags and tagging its accounts on Twitter @FAOAmericas @FAOCaribbean; Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/UNFAO/, Tik Tok — https://www.tiktok.com/@fao and Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/fao/.

Why are fruits and vegetables dietary essentials?

Check out these five reasons from FAO:

1. Fruits and vegetables, at a minimum of 400g per day or five portions, have multiple health benefits, including the strengthening of the immune system.

2. Fruits and vegetables are essential for combating malnutrition in all its forms as well as for influencing the overall prevention of non-communicable diseases.

3. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals (for example, folate, vitamin A and C, potassium) and beneficial phytochemicals.

4. As part of a healthy diet, fruits and vegetables can help lower risk factors for non-communicable diseases, such as overweight/obesity, chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

5. Introducing fruits and vegetables at as early as six months of age and keeping them as regular parts of a healthy diet throughout life is significantly beneficial for good health.

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