Contact: Lori O. Willis

Director of Communications


Sept. 11, 2003

Schnucks and Jackie Joyner-Kersee Launch Five-A-Day Program

Schnuck Markets, Inc. recently launched the second annual "Get Fit With Five" campaign featuring Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee. The two-month program is designed to encourage children to develop improved diet and exercise habits for better health.

The nutritional aspect of the program is guided by recent medical research that attributes significant health benefits to eating five to nine servings of produce daily as well as consuming natural foods of varied colors.

The program culminates on October 18 with the second annual Schnucks/JJK Bridge Run across the Martin Luther King Bridge. The event, a fundraiser for Jackie Joyner-Kersee youth development programs, is open to people of all ages. Registration information is available in the produce sections of all Schnucks stores in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

The Schnucks "Get Fit With Five" education program includes a colorful 30-day fitness chart and explains the Produce for Better Heath Foundation's "color wheel" approach to eating five or more fruits and vegetables daily for better health. The concept, which recently gained support from President George W. Bush, takes a fresh look at the old "basic food groups" idea.

Mike O'Brien, vice president of produce at Schnucks, said he is hoping parents, teachers and coaches are able to use the information to emphasize the importance of good nutrition. "We have designed an attractive brochure that should heighten your child's enthusiasm for healthy eating. It will also encourage dialogue in the home and at school." He added, "The concept is simple; the more colorful your food is, the more likely it contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other components that may provide additional health benefits.

Recent studies have found that eating produce reduces the risk of disease and even fights the effects of aging. The North American Blueberry Council revealed that antioxidants in blueberries and similar fruits can slow the growth of some cancers. Scientists at the University at Buffalo have found that Vitamin E and other lesser-known vitamins found in oranges are associated with healthy lung function. Experts say this research, along with programs sponsored by doctors, schools and fitness centers, is helping to rekindle an interest in proper nutrition.

According to O'Brien, Americans are not eating as well as their European counterparts. "European experts recommend between five and ten servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, but Americans average just 4.4 servings daily." He added, "I believe many people don't realize how easy it is to eat one serving of a fruit or vegetable. The typical serving size for broccoli is only 3.5 oz., one cup (4 oz.) for strawberries, and you can actually get two servings from one large tomato or apple."

O'Brien hopes the "Get Fit With Five" message will continue to be effective in encouraging children and their families to introduce more fresh produce into their diets and make healthier decisions in the supermarket and in the kitchen.

The Schnucks/JJK "Get Fit With Five" program is being supported, in part, by Fresh Express, Chiquita, Sunkist, Grimmway Farms, Monterey Mushrooms, Delmonte and Stemilt Apples.

Last year's Bridge Run drew nearly 350 walkers, runners and wheelchairs athletes. This year, 1,000 people are expected to participate. Entry forms are available at Schnucks stores. The $15 registration fee applies to all "early" entries postmarked on or before October 3. After October 3, the fee will be $20 per person.

Schnuck Markets, Inc. currently operates 100 stores and 93 in-store pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Mississippi. This includes five stores that operate as Logli Supermarkets. Schnucks is currently ranked 83rd on Family Business Magazine's list of 150 largest family companies.

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