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Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Children

Ministry of Health Media Release August 6th, 2012


Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Children and Young People

The new Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Children and Young People (Aged 2-18 years) were released today by the Ministry of Health.

These guidelines are a handbook for health practitioners who work with and for children and young people.

They provide evidence-based recommendations about food, nutrition and physical activity for this age group.

Two nutrition resources for the public have also been updated to reflect these recommendations.

The Ministry of Health Chief Advisor on Child and Youth Health, Dr Pat Tuohy, said today “ A concerning finding from recent research was that many children are eating treat foods most days. These are empty calories which fill children up but don’t nourish them.“

“The guidelines provide advice about how to improve children’s nutrition and keep them healthy which includes keeping high fat, sugar or salt food for occasional use only,” Dr Tuohy said.

Children and young people (aged 2-18 years) represent a quarter of our total population – that’s just over a million people.

It is known that good nutrition and physical activity during childhood and adolescence are essential for normal growth and development and will contribute to good health and reduced levels of chronic disease and disability in adulthood.

The dietary requirements of children and young people are different to those of adults, and change as children and young people develop.

The guidelines and advice to the public covers a very wide range of topics, including:

· the dietary patterns and nutrient intakes of New Zealand children and young people with recommendations for practical interventions;

· physical activity recommendations, as well as approaches to reduce sedentary behaviour;

· topical issues related to 2-18 year olds are discussed, for example energy drinks and energy shots; and

· the many influences on the diet of children and young people, with practical suggestions to assist parents and caregivers to encourage healthy eating in the home.

A copy of the Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Children and Young People (Aged 2-18 years): A background paper is available on the Ministry of Health website at: www.health.govt.nz

The health messages for the public can be found in the Ministry’s health education resources Eating for Healthy Children aged 2-12 years (HE1302) and Healthy Eating for Young People (13 – 18 years) (HE1230), available at: www.healthed.govt.nz

ends

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