Minister for Health launches healthy eating guidelines

13 June 2012

Dr James Reilly Minister for Health today (13th June 2012) launched two publications which provide general information and advice which complement many of the actions this Government is taking on obesity. The booklets, “Your Guide to Healthy Eating Using the Food Pyramid” from the Department of Health and the complementary FSAI resource for Health Professionals, “Healthy Eating and Active Living for Adults, Teenagers and Children over 5 years – A Food Guide for Health Professionals and Catering Services” are aimed at everyone from age 5 years upwards.

The Minister said “The Guidelines are user friendly with each shelf of the Food Pyramid given a two page spread of information and pictorial emphasis and contain simple messages about everyday food choices. While parents should have a guide to children’s appetites and the speed of their growth, these guidelines strongly recommend a concentration on the size of portion of food eaten.”

The Minister also pointed out the main changes to the Food Pyramid, saying that the Top Shelf of the Food Pyramid had changed. “The revised guidelines now focus on typical foods and drinks from this Shelf that contain approximately 100 calories and the need to restrict servings per day to 1 serving maximum. Focusing specifically on reducing Top Shelf foods and drinks is the Department of Health’s key healthy eating message. Alcohol is now also included on the Top Shelf as it provides calories.”

The Minister welcomed the Food Safety Authority of Ireland complementary Food Guide for Health Professionals and Catering Services “Healthy Eating and Active Living for Adults, Teenagers and Children over 5 Years “This resource was developed by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland of Ireland, in conjunction with the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive and Safefood."

Speaking at the announcement Prof Alan Reilly, Chief Executive, Food Safety Authority of Ireland stated that this is the first time there has been detailed healthy eating advice for health professionals tailored to meet the needs of different age and gender groups in Ireland.

“Our new healthy eating advice is based on the best scientific advice available to us and was developed using Irish consumption data. Thus, it is modelled for our specific dietary behaviours in Ireland and gives guidelines for people across four age groups from 5 to 51 + years leading active and non-active lifestyles. In addition, we have given specific advice where dietary intake in Ireland is deficient (vitamin D in all age groups and calcium in children aged 9 to 13 years.”

The FSAI resource for professionals, complements the general population guidelines provided in the Department’s booklet. The advice is formulated into four different age groups and shows how food needs vary according to gender.

Department of Health Publication: Your Guide to Healthy Eating Using the Food Pyramid

FSAI Resource Publication -
Healthy Eating and Active Living for Adults, Teenagers and Children over 5 years – A Food Guide for Health Professionals and Catering Services:
www.fsai.ie/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=11387