Nutrition and Healthy Eating
Current Nutrition Activities
This page provides information about our current nutrition activities: Australian Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity Monitoring and Surveillance Program; Remote Indigenous Stores and Takeaways (RIST) Project; and the National Healthy School Canteens Project.
National Nutrition Policy
The Australian Government has committed to the development of a National Nutrition Policy. The Policy is anticipated to provide an overarching framework to identify, prioritise, drive and monitor nutrition initiatives. It is anticipated that the Nutrition Policy will be finalised in 2014.
Food and Health Dialogue
The Australian Government's Food and Health Dialogue was formally announced by the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, the Hon Mark Butler MP, on 28 October 2009. The Dialogue provides a framework for government, public health groups and industry to work collaboratively across all levels of the food supply chain to improve dietary intakes.
The Australian Government is committed to protecting, promoting, supporting and monitoring breastfeeding throughout Australia. Breastfeeding provides babies with the best start in life and is a key contributor to infant health. Australia's dietary guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding of infants until six months of age, with the introduction of solid foods at around six months and continued breastfeeding until the age of 12 months - and beyond, if both mother and infant wish.
National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey Program
The Department of Health and Ageing, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Australian Food and Grocery Council each contributed $1 million to fund the 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey. The survey was run from February until August 2007 and more than 4,000 children participated in interviews conducted in their homes. Results for the survey are expected in mid 2008.
Following on from the Children’s Survey, an ongoing National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey Program is in development. The Survey Program will collect data on the food intake, physical activity participation and physical measurements of the Australian population through periodic surveys. The first survey is expected to commence in late 2009.
Remote Indigenous Stores and Takeaways (RIST) Project
This three year project supported by the National Public Health Partnership as a part of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition Strategy and Action Plan 2000-2010 (NATSINSAP), aimed to improve access to good quality, affordable, healthy foods, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The RIST project has developed resources for store managers designed to support the increased supply, promotion and sale of healthy food and drinks and evaluated these across identified store and takeaway trial sites. The project is funded by a number of jurisdictions (Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Northern Territory, Western Australia, as well as the Australian Government).
National Healthy School Canteens Project
The National Healthy School Canteens Project is currently under development. This Project aims to assist school canteens to provide healthy food choices and consequently, promote good health through healthy eating to reduce levels of obesity and chronic diseases later in life. Flinders Partners has been contracted by the Department to undertake this Project which will see the development of a nationally consistent approach to making healthy food available in school canteens. The Project consists of three components: a national food categorisation system for school canteens based on a set of nutrition criteria; training resources for canteen staff; and an evaluation framework. More information about this Project can be found at the National Healthy School Canteens Project website
Get Up & Grow: Healthy eating and physical activity for early childhood
The Government has committed $4.5 million over five years from 2007-08 to 2011-12 to develop and distribute guidelines on healthy eating and physical activity in early childhood settings. This forms part of the Government’s Plan for Early Childhood and Plan for Tackling Obesity.
The guidelines were launched jointly by the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Nicola Roxon, and the Minister for Early Childhood Education, Child Care and Youth, and Minister for Sport, the Hon Kate Ellis MP, on 22 October 2009. The guidelines consist of ten healthy eating guidelines and five physical activity guidelines (insert link to guidelines). They complement other Australian Government initiatives, including the Healthy Kids Check for four year olds, the Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0 to 5 years, and the Get Set 4 Life – habits for healthy kids guide.
The Get Up & Grow: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood (Get Up & Grow) resources have been developed to support early childhood education and care settings (centre based care, family day care and preschools) to implement the healthy eating and physical activity guidelines. The guidelines and resources provide early childhood education and care settings and families with children attending these settings with practical information to support and promote healthy eating and physical activity in children under five years of age.
The Get Up & Grow resources consist of:
- a Directors /Coordinators Book;
- a Staff/Carers Book;
- a Cooking for Children Book;
- a Family Book;
- flyers; and
- a CD-ROM containing newsletter inserts and each flyer.
The Get Up & Grow resources have been translated into nine non-English languages (Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, Indonesian, Malaysian, Arabic, Turkish and Spanish) to ensure they are accessible to culturally and linguistically diverse groups.
Feedback received on the Get Up & Grow resources has been overwhelmingly positive, with respondents reporting the resources are easy to understand, provide useful information, and are relevant to their early childhood setting.
Implementation of the Get Up & Grow guidelines
On 7 December 2009, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a new National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care. From 2012, a jointly-governed unified national quality framework will apply to Long Day Care, Family Day Care, Outside School Hours Care and Preschool settings. This national framework will replace the current licensing and accreditation processes and includes a new National Quality Standard for Early Childhood Education and Care and School Age Care. The healthy eating and physical activity guidelines will support the new National Quality Standard. This will occur specifically through guidelines that will support services in planning for quality improvement and to fulfil the requirements of the new National Quality Standard.
For further information on the Get Up & Grow: Healthy eating and physical activity for early childhood guidelines and resources please email PHD Frontdesk.
Nutrient Reference Values
The 2006 Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand (NRVs) are designed to assist nutrition and health professionals assess the dietary requirements of individuals and groups.
They may also be used by public health nutritionists, food legislators and the food industry for dietary modelling and/or food labelling and food formulation. The NRVs are currently under review to ensure they remain relevant, appropriate and useful.
Review of the National Nutrition Recommendations
The Australian Government takes a national leadership and coordination role in the promotion of healthy eating and good nutrition to all Australians, in order to: improve the health and wellbeing of the population; reduce the prevalence of nutrition-related chronic disease; and improve nutrition-related health outcomes of vulnerable groups. The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing has a role in developing, implementing and evaluating national nutrition related policies, guidelines and resources. Nutrition recommendations provided by the Australian Dietary Guidelines, the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and the Core Food Groups are being updated by the National Health and Medical Research Council to reflect the latest available evidence supporting population level healthy eating recommendations. Revised publications are expected to be released from late 2010. The project will support the Government’s other initiatives which target obesity and healthy eating by providing practical information and tools to help consumers to make healthy choices. Information regarding the review of the nutrition recommendations is available from the NHMRC website. For information on the current national nutrition recommendations visit Nutrition Publications.
For further information please email PHD Frontdesk.