The American Heart Association (AHA) is rolling out a new initiative called +color which is intended to focus on the positive health impact of fruits and vegetables.

Why is that significant? Health experts estimate that 39,900 deaths from cardiovascular diseases, stroke and diabetes could be prevented annually if Americans ate the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables every day. It would also amount to a yearly savings of $7.6 billion in medical costs.[1],[2]

Watching and sharing

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.

“Through +color, we’ll empower communities and consumers of all ages, especially millennials, to eat more fruit and vegetables,” said Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, RD,  Professor of Nutrition, The University of Vermont and Past Chair, AHA Nutrition Committee. “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.”

The AHA launched the +color initiative last week in New York City with SUBWAY® restaurants, with support from Hass Avocado Board (HAB). It will encourage Americans to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet and better understand the critical health benefits this change can mean.

Closing the gap

+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.

SUBWAY® says its restaurants will ensure consumers understand how their vegetable offerings contribute to the +color initiative by highlighting how the vegetable options that are available can help them add more fruits and vegetables to their meal. The company plans to support the initiative through an in-store promotion in 2017.

HAB’s Fresh Avocados – Love One Today® 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 visit

[1] Chatterjee, Anusuya , Kubendran, Sindhu , King, Jaque , and DeVol, Ross, Checkup Time: Chronic Disease and Wellness in America,Jan 29, 2014,

[2] 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, Ameircan Heart Association, March 2015.