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Nutrition is the process of nourishing or being nourished, that is, the process of supplying what is necessary to sustain life. The nutrients required to sustain life and promote health and wellbeing are: Carbohydrate, Fat, Fibre, Protein, Water, Vitamins and minerals It is well accepted that nutrition is strongly linked to the major causes of ill health in Western countries. Many diseases common in Australia are "lifestyle" diseases related to what we choose to eat. They include: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, eating disorders, being overweight and obesity.

These diseases have been shown to be linked to eating:

  • too much fat (especially saturated fat), salt, sticky sugary food and alcohol
  • and not enough dietary fibre, complex carbohydrates, calcium and iron and folate

Many factors influence food choices, but a major area of concern is that of "body image". Australian adolescents, particularly females, incorrectly see themselves as underweight or overweight. Incorrect concerns about body image can lead to the use of dangerous diets and weight-loss methods, low self-esteem and eating disorders.

[Source: Nutrition: the inside story, 2003, Home Economics Institute of Australia Inc., Macquarie ACT.]

The Australian Government’s Department of Health maintains a website eatforhealth. The site includes detailed information about Australia’s Dietary Guidelines.  The Guide aims to promote healthy eating habits throughout life, which will assist in reducing the risk of health problems in later life, such as heart disease, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.