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Ask the Expert Archive

Press Release

September 15, 2011


Kristen Stevens, COO
Produce for Better Health Foundation
7465 Lancaster Pike
Suite J, 2nd Floor
Hockessin, DE 19707
Fax: 302-235-5555

High Fruit and Vegetable Intake Linked to Lower Risk of Breast Cancer

The tools and resources needed to increase fruit and vegetables in meals and snacks

Hockessin, Del. - A new study suggests women who eat diets rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, fiber-rich grains, and low-fat dairy have a lower risk of developing certain types of breast tumors.  This diet closely follows the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.  Further examination in the study suggests high vegetable and fruit intake is the notable link.  Specifically, the women in the study were less likely than other women to develop estrogen receptor negative tumors that account for one-quarter of breast cancers and tend to be more aggressive with fewer treatment options than estrogen receptor plus tumors.

The researchers followed over 86,600 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study for 26 years and found slightly less than one percent developed estrogen receptor negative breast cancer.  The findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.  Other studies have shown plant-based diets reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“The results of this new study could not have been released at a better time than now with the recent update of the food pyramid to ChooseMyPlate, coupled with the recommendation to make half your plate fruits and vegetables,” says Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) the nonprofit entity in partnership with CDC behind the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters national public health initiative.  “Studies continue to show that a strong relationship exists between the types of food Americans choose to eat and their risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers, as well as a direct impact on life-span. The findings of these studies also continue to reinforce that eating fruits and vegetables is a sound investment in long-term health and some of the cheapest health insurance around.”

PBH has several tools and resources available for consumers who need information on nutrition, healthy eating, grocery shopping and cooking.  The Fruits & Veggies—More Matters website and Facebook page provide inspiration, tips, information, and other types of support to make eating fruits and veggies easy, fun, and affordable.  The website includes tools such as a searchable recipe center, video center showing short clips on how to select, store and prepare different fruits and vegetables, and a fruit and vegetable nutrition database.

PBH is also sponsoring a MyPlate Makeover Challenge in support of the ChooseMyPlate food pyramid.  The challenge is featured on the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters Facebook page and simply involves uploading a picture of how a consumer has transformed their plates, bowls, glasses, etc. to be half fruits and vegetables.  Every time a consumer uploads a picture, they receive coupons and other free fruit and vegetable related items, and are automatically entered in a weekly drawing for a $100 grocery gift card.

The MyPlate Makeover Challenge also provides guidance and inspiration by showcasing weekly “real food” plates.  All featured plates are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines, prepared in 30 minutes or less, and economical. Follow the MyPlate Makeover Challenge and Fruits & Veggies—More Matters on Facebook or Twitter to stay abreast of these efforts.

Making half your plate fruits and vegetables, for a healthy lifestyle, is simple and within reach.  No points.  No complex program.  Fruits and vegetables offer a great value – good for the budget, good for the body.


About Produce for Better Health Foundation

Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) fruit and vegetable education foundation.  Since 1991, PBH works to motivate people to eat more fruits and vegetables to improve public health.  PBH achieves success through industry and government collaboration, first with the 5 A Day program and now with the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters public health initiative.  Fruits & Veggies—More Matters is the nation’s largest public-private, fruit and vegetable nutrition education initiative with Fruit and Vegetable Nutrition Coordinators in each state, territory and the military. To learn more, visit and Follow Fruits & Veggies—More Matters on Facebook or Twitter.

PBH is also a member and co-chair with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) of the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance (NFVA), consisting of government agencies, non-profit organizations, and industry working to collaboratively and synergistically achieve increased nationwide access and demand for all forms of fruits and vegetables for improved public health.  To learn more, visit

The Expert: Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka, a mother of two and a registered dietitian, shares years of experience in getting people to eat more fruits and veggies.Read Her Full Bio

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