DALLAS, Sept. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a landmark nationwide effort, the American Heart Association (AHA) is announcing a new initiative called +color, focusing on the positive health impact of fruits and vegetables. The health impact of +color may be simple yet significant: It is estimated that if Americans ate the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables every day, approximately 39,900 deaths would be prevented from cardiovascular diseases, stroke and diabetes and $7.6 billion in medical costs could be saved annually.,
On Friday, Sept. 23, the AHA and SUBWAY® restaurants, with support from Hass Avocado Board (HAB), will launch +color in New York City. This on-going initiative will encourage Americans to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet and better understand the critical health benefits this change can mean.
+color is also critical to helping the AHA achieve its 2020 health impact goal of improving the health of all Americans by 20 percent by 2020. According to a 2015 study in Circulation, young adults who eat more than five daily servings of fruits and vegetables may have less atherosclerosis than those who do not. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, the average intake of fruits and vegetables for adults under 50 years of age is about half of the recommended intake ranges. Adding one more cup of fruits or vegetables per day closes the gap by approximately 50 percent.
"Through +color, we'll empower communities and consumers of all ages, especially millennials, to eat more fruit and vegetables. We want to push the perceived limits and perceptions around what people think is healthy to what is actually going to help them improve their diet. It's about adding colorful, nutritious and vitamin-packed fruit and vegetables to meals instead of choosing unhealthier options," stated Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, RD, Professor of Nutrition, The University of Vermont and Past Chair, American Heart Association Nutrition Committee. "It's about showing America how easy it is to get more of these vital foods into their diet each day and how easy it is to share this information everywhere they go with everyone they know. This information has the power to help save lives."
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has also been shown to reduce risk of stroke, certain types of cancer and risk of death from all causes. That's why the AHA and SUBWAY® restaurants are inviting Americans to join in this transformative effort by encouraging everyone to start today.
As the inaugural national sponsor of +color, SUBWAY® restaurants continues their long-term commitment to healthier eating by uniting in this effort with the AHA. SUBWAY® restaurants will ensure consumers understand how their vegetable offerings contribute to the +color initiative by highlighting how the vegetable options available at SUBWAY® restaurants can help them add more fruits and vegetables to their meal. In addition, SUBWAY® restaurants will support this new initiative through an in-store promotion in 2017.
"SUBWAY® restaurants is inspired to join the American Heart Association on this exciting journey to encourage Americans to eat more vegetables and promote healthier eating," said Lanette Kovachi, RDN, SUBWAY® restaurants Global Dietitian. "At SUBWAY® restaurants, Americans can choose from millions of our handcrafted sandwich combinations to create their own custom sandwich, which can offer up at least two extra servings of vegetables to their diet. Each of the six fresh vegetable varieties offered at SUBWAY® are a perfect complement to the +color initiative."
The centerpiece of +color is an extensive series of entertaining videos, social media events and digital interactive information that make it easy to adopt these healthy changes. This can be accomplished by watching and sharing +color content, and adding more fruits or vegetables each day. As a national supporter of +color, HAB's Fresh Avocados – Love One Today® will be a part of the launch as the official "recipe host." HAB will help expand the initiative's reach with avocado heart-check certified recipes and tips about the nutrition benefits of avocados.
Expansion of the initiative will kick off at AHA Heart Walks nationwide this fall. Additional elements of +color will include content for fun kids, as well as opportunities for worksites to engage with its employees.
For more information about +color, the event on Sept. 23, and how to start adding more color to your day, visit Heart.org/pluscolor.
About the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association
The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based American Heart Association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About SUBWAY® restaurants
Guests in 112 countries have easy access to a fresh line-up of vegetables for their made-to-order sandwiches and salads at any of the more than 44,000 franchised locations. The company, founded 50 years-ago by then 17-year-old Fred DeLuca and family-friend Dr. Peter Buck, is still a family-owned business with thousands of dedicated franchisees/entrepreneurs in neighborhoods around the world, providing easy access to vegetables, detailed nutrition, dietary, and healthy lifestyle information. This has been a priority for the SUBWAY® restaurant chain for many years. To learn more, visit www.subway.com. SUBWAY® is a registered trademark of Subway IP Inc.
 Chatterjee, Anusuya , Kubendran, Sindhu , King, Jaque , and DeVol, Ross, Checkup Time: Chronic Disease and Wellness in America,Jan 29, 2014, http://www.milkeninstitute.org/publications/view/618
 Apple, et. al. Helping Americans Eat More of the Good Stuff A Systems-Wide Approach to Increasing Fruits and Vegetables and the Impact on Public Health, the Economy and the Environment, American Heart Association, March 2015. wcm/@fc/documents/downloadable/ucm_473760.pdf" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@private/@wcm/@fc/documents/downloadable/ucm_473760.pdf
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SOURCE American Heart Association