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Follow The Nutrition Guidelines

Follow The Nutrition Guidelines

Agencies for Nutrition Action (ANA) welcomes the launch of the ‘Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Adults’ released today by the Ministry of Health. ‘The guidelines give us clear practical nutrition advice, based on the latest scientific evidence,’ says Carolyn Watts, Chairperson, Agencies for Nutrition Action.

’It is little wonder that the public and sometimes even health professionals are confused about what a healthy diet is. The guidelines take the guess work out of healthy eating and give a good general guide for New Zealand adults’, says Ms Watts. For example with the popularity of low carbohydrate diets many people have identified bread as a ‘bad’ food. The guidelines put this myth to rest, clearly stating ‘Eat 6 servings of breads and cereals – preferably whole grain each day’

With the alarming increase in obesity we all need to understand that energy in has to equal energy out. This means balancing the amount of food we eat with physical activity on most days of the week for at least 30 minutes.

‘Understanding which foods are high in energy or calories is important, particularly for people trying to lose weight’, says Ms Watts. Many high fat, high sugar foods and drinks are high in energy or calories but contain few other nutrients, like vitamins and minerals”. The Guidelines recommend we ‘Prepare foods or choose pre-prepared foods, drinks and snacks: - with minimal added fat, especially saturated fat; - that are low in salt; if using salt, choose iodised salt - with little added sugar, limit your intake of high-sugar foods

In order to achieve the above guideline, you actually have to know what is in the pre-prepared, pre packaged food that you are eating.

Most manufactured foods are now required by law to have a nutrition information panel, which is helpful. Unfortunately foods made and packaged at the point of sale are exempt, which includes many takeaway foods.

‘Our job now, as Agencies involved in nutrition promotion, is to promote the guidelines to other health professionals and to the general public. If we can do this and encourage New Zealand adults followed the guidelines we know that there would be a significant improvement in our health’ says Ms Watts. Poor nutrition is a key risk factor for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. A Ministry of Health report published earlier this year found that poor nutrition has a role in about 40% of deaths in New Zealand, which equates to 11,000 deaths a year. ENDS For more information and comment contact:

Agencies for Nutrition Action is a coalition group of nutrition organisations including the Cancer Society, the Heart Foundation, National Diabetes Forum, NZ Nutrition Foundation, NZ Dietitians Association, and Te Hotu Manawa Maori. The Ministry of Health and Sport and Recreation NZ are observer members. Agencies for Nutrition Action role’s are to improve coordination within the nutrition and physical activity sector.

What are the New Zealand Food and Nutrition Guideline statements?
1. Maintain a healthy body weight by eating well and by daily physical activity.*

2. Eat well by including a variety of nutritious foods from each of the four major food groups each day.

• Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits.

• Eat plenty of breads and cereals, preferably wholegrain.

• Have milk and milk products in your diet, preferably reduced or low-fat

• Include lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or alternatives.

3. Prepare foods or choose pre-prepared foods, drinks and snacks:

• with minimal added fat, especially saturated fat

• that are low in salt; if using salt, choose iodised salt

• with little added sugar; limit your intake of high-sugar foods.

4. Drink plenty of liquids each day, especially water.

5. If choosing to drink alcohol, limit your intake.

6. Purchase, prepare, cook and store food to ensure food safety.

* At least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most if not all days of the week and if possible add some vigorous exercise for extra health and fitness.

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