Grain Foods Foundation Kicks off Public Education Campaign

NEW YORK -- The Grain Foods Foundation yesterday launched a multimillion-dollar public education campaign to highlight the beneficial role that grain products, particularly bread, play in a healthy, balanced diet. The campaign, launched here and Washington, D.C., is the foundation's first effort to publicize the nutritional benefits of breads and grains.

Using the tagline "Bread, it's Essential," the Grains for LIFE campaign was created to highlight the numerous ways in which bread and grain products can contribute to longevity, intelligent eating, fitness, and energy. The campaign will reach consumers on the street, in such health-based locations as gyms and doctors' offices, in grocery stores, and online at Methods of publicizing the campaign include billboards, wallscapes, the Reuters Jumbotron in Times Square, and costumed "bread ambassadors" distributing educational materials.

A recent survey of more than 2,000 American adult consumers conducted by Harris Interactive for the Grain Foods Foundation found that while 50 percent of those surveyed say that they "love eating bread" and 50 percent say they "eat bread almost every day," only 12 percent know that bread can contribute to the prevention of serious health conditions. Moreover, 24 percent of those surveyed think that carbohydrate restriction is a sensible dietary approach.

Other important survey findings are as follows:

--Nineteen percent of women age 35 to 44 think that bread is unhealthy or fattening.

--Nine percent of women age 35 to 44 believe that bread can help prevent serious health conditions.

--Sixty-four percent of those age 18 to 34, including 70 percent of women in this age range, say they love eating bread, while just 39 percent of those age 55 years or older feel the same way.

"What we've found is a dichotomy among American consumers," said Grain Foods Foundation president Judi Adams in a statement. "We have a sensory and emotional connection to bread -- the taste, the smell, the memories that bread evokes -- but for the most part, consumers are unaware of how bread can contribute to the prevention of heart disease, some cancers, birth defects, and diabetes, as well as maintaining optimal health. Our campaign is designed to balance that equation by reinforcing all the reasons why including bread in your diet is a smart choice."

Grains for LIFE public education materials incorporate information gleaned from the Grain Foods Foundation literature review of over 900 peer-reviewed scientific studies on health, disease, and nutrition. The review, which was released last October, found, among other things, that:

--Grain-based carbohydrates aren't the problem in obesity, and that diet extremes relying on restriction of any food group are not sustainable in the long term and could be harmful

--Grain products, including folic acid-fortified enriched grain products, are healthy -- providing good sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other healthy components, and may reduce the risk of early mortality and chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and birth defects

--Carbohydrates are needed to support a physically active lifestyle necessary for optimal health.

Grains for LIFE materials will be available to the general public through the Grain Foods Foundation Web site, as well as through partnerships with medical and consumer health organizations such as the March of Dimes.

The Grain Foods Foundation, a joint venture of members of the milling and baking industries, is dedicated to advancing the public's understanding of the beneficial role grain-based foods play in the human diet. Directed by a board of trustees, the foundation receives its funding through voluntary donations from private grain-based food companies, supplemented by industry associations.
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