First National Survey Of Child Nutrition Planned

  • Bill English

Health Minister Bill English said today the Government was planning the first national survey to look at the eating habits and diets of children.

"Changing lifestyles suggest we are raising a new generation on chips, soft drinks and fast food, but the reality is we simply don't know the facts.

"The survey will provide much needed information on what children eat and their nutritional status - important indicators for the health for our children now and later in their lives.

"Poor eating habits or eating too much of the wrong foods can have consequences in adult life, yet we know very little about the food and nutrient intake of children in New Zealand.

"The survey will involve questioning up to 5,000 children from the ages of one to fourteen. It will be highly detailed - including questions on the ingredients, how the food was prepared and the portion sizes even to the recipes used to make the food. Older children will also be asked about physical activity and their consumption of vitamin supplements.

"Results are expected to be available in 2001/2002. These will be used as baseline data to develop further nutritional policy and future guidelines for this age group," said Mr English.

Advice on the recommended food intakes for children is available from the Ministry's Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Children (2-12 years), Infants and Toddlers, and Adolescents.