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Nutrients 2018, 10(6), 702;

Measuring the Healthiness of the Packaged Food Supply in Australia

The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2042, Australia
School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2042, Australia
Centre for Population Health Research, Deakin University, Melbourne Burwood Campus, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia
Carolina Population Center, The University of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 April 2018 / Revised: 26 May 2018 / Accepted: 29 May 2018 / Published: 31 May 2018
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The increasing availability of packaged foods plays a key role in nutritional transition. This study examined the healthiness of the Australian packaged food supply using a range of different metrics; 40,664 packaged products from The George Institute’s FoodSwitch database were included. Median and interquartile range (IQR) were determined for each measure of nutrient composition; mean and standard deviation (SD) for the measure based upon Health Star Rating (HSR); and proportions (%) for the measures based upon products with a higher HSR, classification of foods as either core or discretionary, extent of processing and proportions of foods that met reformulation targets for sodium, saturated fat and total sugars. Overall median (IQR) values were 1093 (1256) kJ/100 g for energy, 1.7 (6.3) g/100 g for saturated fat, 5.3 (21.4) g/100 g for total sugars, 163 (423) g/100 g for sodium and 50 (100) g or mL for serving size. Overall mean (SD) HSR was 2.8 (1.4), proportion with HSR < 3.5 was 61.8%, proportion of foods defined as discretionary was 53.0% and proportion of foods defined as highly processed was 60.5%. There were sodium targets set for 21,382/40,664 (53%) foods and achieved for 14,126/40,664 (35%). Corresponding figures for saturated fat were 328/40,664 (0.8%) and 130/40,664 (0.3%). Nutrient profiling, dietary guidelines and the extent of food processing provided comparable assessments of the nutritional quality of Australia’s packaged food supply. Individual measures of nutrient composition did not, but may be of value for identifying specific foods of concern. View Full-Text
Keywords: nutrition; food supply; packaged foods; nutrient profiling; health star rating; INFORMAS; core foods; processed foods; dietary guidelines nutrition; food supply; packaged foods; nutrient profiling; health star rating; INFORMAS; core foods; processed foods; dietary guidelines

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Crino, M.; Sacks, G.; Dunford, E.; Trieu, K.; Webster, J.; Vandevijvere, S.; Swinburn, B.; Wu, J.Y.; Neal, B. Measuring the Healthiness of the Packaged Food Supply in Australia. Nutrients 2018, 10, 702.

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