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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin

Key facts

Healthy eating is a vital part of good health. Nutrition is the process in which the food we eat brings nourishment to our body.

What is good nutrition?

With good nutrition the body receives a balance of nutrients from a variety of foods. A balanced diet can help with:

Why is good nutrition important?

Good nutrition is important for physical wellbeing and social and emotional health.

Nutrients play an important role in the body processes of:

Good nutrition requires a healthy diet made up of a combination of the different nutrients.

What is poor nutrition?

Poor nutrition can mean either:

Why is poor nutrition harmful?

Under-nutrition in pregnant women and infants will increase the chance of developing chronic diseases later in life. It can also lead to slower physical growth and brain development in children. Underweight children are at increased risk of death from infectious illnesses such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. In adults, under-nutrition can lead to serious illnesses over time.

Over-nutrition can lead to overweight and obesity. It is caused by eating too many foods with high levels of sugar and saturated fats and by not being physically active. Being overweight is a risk factor for long-term health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and some cancers. It is also associated with other risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol which can lead to heart disease.

Poor nutrition and lack of physical activity are major risk factors for the development of:

Poor nutrition can also lead to:

Risk factors for poor nutrition

There are several risk factors for poor nutrition:

Nutrients in food

There are six categories of nutrients:

People need nutrients in different quantities, depending on:

Food groups

Foods are grouped according to the main types of nutrients they contain. There are five food groups:

No single food or food group can supply all the nutrients a person needs, so nutrition experts recommend we eat daily servings from each of the five food groups.

Nutrition guidelines

The Dietary guidelines for all Australians is a guide to food, nutrition and health, produced by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

No guideline is more important than any other. The guidelines are:

There are two extra guidelines for Indigenous Australians:

The Dietary guidelines for all Australians is included in the Healthy Lifestyle Workers Resource Pack.

Last updated: 10 July 2012
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