Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults

Updated 2020

Published online: 
10 December 2020
Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults.


This document provides evidence-based population health advice on healthy eating and being physically active.

The document is written for health practitioners and others who provide advice on nutrition and physical activity for New Zealand adults. The document:

  • brings together the eating and physical activity statements, outlining each statement and why it is recommended
  • identifies the international evidence that underpins the statements
  • provides some information for putting the statements into practice.

Download the full document here:

You can visit Eating and Activity Guidelines on Te Whatu Ora’s website for supporting information on the guidelines.

December 2020 update

The Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults were updated in December 2020 to include advice for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The Eating and Activity Guidelines Statements for adults remain the same and were not reviewed. Where possible data has been updated. 

The updated advice for pregnant and breastfeeding women replaces the previous Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: A background paper published in 2006 and partially revised in 2008. This advice, along with recommendations on physical activity for pregnant women, have been integrated into the adult guidelines.  

It is also significant to note a change in the tools used to describe what a healthy eating pattern looks likes. New Zealand has updated its serving size advice by adopting the evidence based Australian serve size advice and a new food model has been developed. See Choose a Balance of Healthy Food Every Day (PDF, 4.9 MB).

Eating and Activity Guidelines for Adult New Zealanders contain recommendations which apply in most cases to the whole population. The recommended eating pattern is the same for almost all groups, with some variation based on the amount of food and nutrients needed at different life stages. 

Advice for pregnant women focuses on the importance of a nutrient-rich diet and healthy weight gain during pregnancy, increased need related to folate/folic acid and iodine, and the importance of food safety given the lowered immunity during pregnancy. Advice for breastfeeding women also focuses on the need for a nutrient rich healthy diet, and the importance of an environment that supports women to breastfeed.

Summary of Guidelines Statements and Key Related Information

This resource summarises the key information from the Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults. It covers what the guidelines recommend, why and gives suggestions on how to put the recommendations into practice.

Topical Questions and Answers

This resource provides answers on some topical issues around eating (nutrition) and physical activity. The responses are based on the Ministry of Health’s monitoring of international research. Any new research is considered alongside the existing body of evidence and best international population health advice.

What’s Changed?

In December 2020, the Ministry of Health published updated Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults. The following resources describe the key changes from the old to the new edition of the Guidelines. 

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    10 December 2020
  • ISBN:
    978-1-99-002952-3 (online); 978-1-99-002953-0 (print)
  • HP number:
  • Citation:
    Ministry of Health. 2020. Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults: Updated 2020. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
  • Ordering information:
    Hard copy available to be ordered, also soft copy available to download
  • Copyright status:

    Owned by the Ministry of Health and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.

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