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Despite the wide availability of health education materials and the intensive media interest in food and health, the number of individuals changing their diets has been insufficient to shift average population intakes towards current recommendations. The Nutrition Task Force document ‘Eat Well!’ indicated that the development of a nationally recognized, authoritative and consistently used guide to food selection was a priority. The provision of practical information, via a simple model for nutrition education suitable for wide use, would help to provide the general public with a consistent message on food and health. The National Food Guide: The Balance of Good Health illustrates an agreed core structure of food groupings based on dietetic criteria and the nutritional characteristics of foods within each of the groups. The guide has been developed giving due consideration to the provision of nutritional adequacy, cultural variations, educational needs and requirements for flexibility. This paper outlines the general and specific nutritional objectives of the National Food Guide. It details the criteria for the inclusion of foods within each of the five illustrated food groups, describes the key characteristics of foods within those groups and the rationale for the space allocated for each food group section. Copyright © 1995, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics

Publication Date





323 - 334