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Food nutrition information grows

Food nutrition information grows

New Zealanders are becoming more health conscious and are seeking better information on food so they can improve their eating habits, says Ministry of Health spokesperson Dr Barry Borman.

An updated book released today that details foods' nutritional contents will enable us to make decisions about what foods we eat based on reliable facts and figures, says Dr Borman, Public Health Intelligence Manager.

The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables - Sixth Edition contains nutrient information on more than 900 commonly used New Zealand foods. For each food, 28 nutrient measures are given such as fats, minerals, vitamins, fibre and protein contents. Information on energy (calorie) content. For example, the tables have updated information on the fat content of various reduced fat table spreads.

New foods analysed for the tables include additional milk products, such as a particular type of ice cream, and more information on pizza, chicken nuggets and table spreads such as peanut butter and jams.

Health Minister Annette King says the tables are an accurate source of information on the nutritional content of foods, which is important for New Zealanders as they continue to seek better health and improved eating habits.

"The tables will greatly assist professionals in health care, the food industry, sport, education, and research by making information on nutrients readily accessible. For public simply wanting more details about food nutrition, then this is just the document to help," she says.

Information for the tables comes from the New Zealand Food Composition Database which is a joint project between Public Health Intelligence of the Ministry of Health and Crop & Food Research. The database contains nutritional information on more than 2600 foods and has multiple uses, such as analysing diets, foods and importantly the results of national nutrition surveys. It is also used for preparing nutrition labels and in food product development.

Dr Borman says food composition research in New Zealand reinforces the importance of collaboration and partnerships between the science and health sectors.

"The Ministry's recently released Healthy Eating - Healthy Action: A Framework for Action will help define key priorities and guide implementation for improving nutrition, increasing physical activity and reducing obesity. The tables can help people to adopt the Government's nutrition initiatives," he says.

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