Process for developing the Eating and Activity Guidelines

The diagram below shows the key parts of the process used to develop the Eating and Activity Guidelines.

Flow diagram, described below.

A number of documents were referred to in developing the guidelines.

The first stream of these included:

  • 2003 Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy New Zealand Adults
  • 2006 Australia New Zealand Nutrient Reference Values
  • 2010 American Dietary Guidelines and evidence base
  • 2011 Evaluation of the Food and Nutrition Guideline Series
  • 2012 Nordic Nutrition Recommendations and evidence base
  • 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines and evidence base
  • 2014 Report on dietary patterns and health outcomes for 2015 American Dietary Guidelines.

The second stream included:

  • 2007 World Health Organization guidelines and publications
  • World Cancer Research Fund Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective (2007 and 2011).

The third stream included:

  • 2005 Movement = Health Physical Activity Guidelines
  • 2008 US Physical Activity Guidelines and evidence base
  • 2011 Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines and evidence base
  • 2011 UK Physical Activity Guidelines and evidence base
  • 2012 Australian Development of Evidence-based Physical Activity Recommendations for Adults (18–64 years).

Work on the update began 2013, including:

  • Technical Advisory Group (TAG) review and discussion of evidence bases
  • Eating and Activity Statements drafted (in conjunction with TAG)
  • limited stakeholder consultation and focus group testing with the public on draft statements
  • draft Eating and Activity Guidelines document
  • TAG review
  • internal Ministry of Health review
  • external review: health practitioner/non-government organisation review, government agency review, food industry review
  • limited stakeholder consultation.

In 2015, the Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults document was published.

The diagram below shows the process used to revise and update the Maternal (Pregnant and Breastfeeding) Eating and Activity Statements.

Flow diagram, described below.

Documents referred to included:

  • Ministry of Health (2006) Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: A background paper (revised 2008). Revised 2008 to update the mercury and allergy content
  • Ministry of Health (2013) Companion statement on Vitamin D and sun exposure in pregnancy and infancy in New Zealand
  • Ministry of Health (2014) Guidance for Healthy Weight Gain in Pregnancy
  • National Health and Medical Research Council and Ministry of Health (2015) Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand
  • Ministry of Health (2015) Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults
  • Ministry of Health (2017) How We Eat: Reviews of the evidence on food and eating behaviours related to diet and body size
  • Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor (2018) The health benefits and risks of folic acid fortification of food.

Work began in 2018 with a review of national and international guidelines and drafted new maternal statements. It continued in 2019, including:

  • Technical Advisory Group (TAG) review and discussion of evidence and statement wording
  • public focus group testing (Moana Research) and online survey with practitioners, industry and expoerts
  • combining maternal Statements with the EAGs
  • TAG review of document
  • addition of food safety advice from Ministry for Primary Industries
  • external review: practitioners, non-government organisations, government agencies
  • Ministry of Health internal review
  • addition of Activity Statements for pregnant women.

In 2020, the update to the Eating and Activity Guidelines for Adults to include advice for pregnant and breastfeeding women was published.

Evaluation Report 2011

In 2011, the existing Food and Nutrition Guidelines were evaluated to find out how they were being used by the health sector and how they could be improved.

We have used this evaluation to guide the development, distribution and promotion of the new Eating and Activity Guidelines Series.

The evaluation showed the Food and Nutrition Guidelines are valued by many health practitioners, but some changes to their development process and format would strengthen them and make them more accessible to a wider audience. The Guidelines Series contain key features that were identified as important by a wide range of health practitioners during the evaluation. This includes creating:

  • one document that has both nutrition and physical activity population health advice
  • an external advisory group to work on the guidelines
  • a more robust evidence base to support the advice.

Go to Evaluation of the Food and Nutrition Guidelines Series to find out more.

Technical Advisory Group

A Technical Advisory Group made up of nine nutrition and physical activity specialists was formed in 2013 to advise the Ministry on updating its population health guidelines.

This group gave advice on the guideline statements and the evidence on which they are based.

Members of the current EAGs Technical Advisory Group

  • Professor Jim Mann (Chair)
  • Professor Murray Skeaff
  • Dr Pamela von Hurst
  • Dr Clare Wall
  • Dr Ofa Dewes
  • Delvina Gorton
  • Dr Zirsha Wharemate
  • Dr Sandra Mandic
  • Dr Scott Duncan

Members of the Maternal, Infant and Toddler Technical Advisory Group

  • Professor Clare Wall (Chair)
  • Associate Professor Cath Conlon
  • Mafi Funaki-Tahifote
  • Associate Professor Anne-Louise Heath
  • Anne Hodren
  • Kass Jane
  • Emily Jones
  • Robyn Lawrence 
  • Sande Mareroa-Gates
  • Professor Lesley McCowan

Consultation on the draft guidelines

The Ministry received extensive feedback from the sector (as part of the 2011 evaluation), on what updated guidelines ideally would include, then undertook other key stakeholder consultation on the Guidelines document during the development process.

Key stakeholders included:

  • nutrition and physical activity academics
  • health practitioners including individuals, national organisations such as Dietitians NZ and colleges such as Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP)
  • Māori and Pacific public health nutrition and physical activity organisations such as Toi Tangata and the Heart Foundation's Pacific Heartbeat
  • non-government organisations such as Cancer Society and Heart Foundation
  • physical activity and fitness organisations, such as the Exercise Association of New Zealand
  • food industry groups such as Food and Grocery Council, Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, New Zealand Beef and Lamb, Fonterra and Unilever New Zealand
  • government agencies and crown entities including ACC, Ministry for Primary Industries, Sport NZ and the Health Promotion Agency
  • general public – specifically focus group testing of the Guidelines Statements included adult New Zealanders of Māori, Pacific, South Asian and New Zealand European ethnicities.
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