The Food and Grocery Council has launched a website aimed at improving food literacy among New Zealanders. Healthybalance.nz is devoted to promoting healthier attitudes to food, fitness, and family, to support health and wellbeing by way of practical, evidence-based advice.
FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich says food, in particular, will comprise a big part of the content of the site. “We all know that food literacy is vital to enable consumers to choose, prepare, and consume a healthy diet, but these days, given the many sources of different information available to use, information on healthy eating can be confusing and contradictory.
“Our idea with Healthy Balance is to attempt to help redress that by presenting evidence-based information on healthier food in an easy-to-read format.”
Features of the website so far include two video series written by dietician and Registered Nutritionist Nikki Hart. In the first series, Nikki talked about creating an energy gap, how to shop smarter, balancing snacks and treats, and eating the right foods to live longer. In the second she tackles subjects people are often confused about: What to eat for breakfast, fad diets, processed foods, and how to use the new Health Star Rating system.
“These videos are an excellent resource that will help people reach informed decisions about the right foods to eat. They are based on the Ministry of Health’s National Food and Nutrition Guidelines,” Rich says.
She adds: “People in the food industry are as keen as others to see global obesity rates fall. We are particularly interested in lowering obesity rates of children. Sadly, some children are obese even by the time they are toddlers.
“This is why we fully support Health Minister Jonathan Coleman’s ambition for more industry activity and the New Zealand Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan. We are working to ensure our section of the food industry plays its part through initiatives such as Healthy Balance, the launch of the eight health promotion videos featuring Nikki Hart, the roll-out of the Health Star Rating system in New Zealand and Australia, product reformulation, and community activities and education.
“Many of our members have already made health and wellness pledges, and we will be inviting more members to join the programme,” says Rich.