AFGC says healthy eating guide a step in right direction

Posted by Editorial on 23rd September 2009

A new nutrition and healthy eating guide released by the CSIRO will help Australian children to enjoy a more balanced and nutritious diet, according to the nation’s leading organisation representing food and grocery manufacturers, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

Based on scientific research, the CSIRO Wellbeing Plan for Kids book provides a useful guide for parents to encourage their children to achieve a healthy and active lifestyle. The book includes more than 100 healthy recipes aimed at family-friendly cooking.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell said the CSIRO’s healthy eating guide was a step in the right direction for encouraging children to eat healthier and more nutritious foods.

“This book will help to better educate children about healthy foods and encourages them to be more active – an important routine they can carry on into the rest of their lives,” Ms Carnell said.

AFGC and CSIRO have enjoyed a close working relationship after conducting a landmark study called the Australian Children’s National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey between February and August 2007.

The survey found that children across all ages were not eating enough dairy foods, fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereal foods and are consuming too much saturated fat, sugar and salt. About 69 per cent of the children met the National Physical Activity Guidelines of at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity each day, the survey also found.

“These findings underscore the need to help children to eat better – this is where the CSIRO’s eating guide now comes into play,” Ms Carnell said.

AFGC has also developed a self-regulation scheme called the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative, which came into effect on January 1, 2009. As part of the initiative, 16 leading food and beverage manufacturers have committed not to advertise to children, unless their products represent healthy dietary choices and a healthy lifestyle consistent with scientific standards or Australian standards.

“Our industry has a leading role to advertise healthy food and active lifestyles to children and we welcome Government and advocacy groups working with us in monitoring this important initiative,” Ms Carnell said.