Poster Topical Area: Methods and Protocols

Location: Hall D

Poster Board Number: 671

P15-010 - Developing a Healthy Eating Pattern for the Transformation of Canada’s Food Guide

Monday, Jun 11
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Objective: To develop a methodology for the transformed healthy eating pattern for Canada. The revised pattern aims to provide the recommended amounts and types of foods that:

a) Reflect convincing associations between dietary patterns, foods, nutrients and risk of certain nutrition related chronic diseases and conditions, b) Stay within calorie limits to reduce risk of unhealthy weight gain, and c) Are nutritionally adequate.

Additional considerations include flexibility, relevance, oral health, the cost of foods, health equity and the environmental impact of healthy eating.


Methods: As part of the transformed Canada's Food Guide, a literature scan on statistical approaches used in developing healthy eating patterns for national food guides was conducted. Based on the results of the scan, a Canadian healthy eating pattern methodology was proposed in consultation with national and international advisors. This process was also informed by discussions with key health stakeholders and public consultations.


Results:The proposed methodology is a two-step, iterative process. The first step uses representative foods and mathematical optimization to create a draft healthy eating pattern that meets specific food and nutrient-based criteria. These criteria were determined using the convincing evidence in Canada's Evidence Review Cycle for Dietary Guidance, Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommendations and data from Canada's national nutrition survey: the Canadian Community Health Survey - Nutrition 2015.

The second step uses the draft healthy eating pattern from the first step, to simulate 8,000 diets (500 for each of the 16 DRI age and sex groups) using individual foods. The probability of a food being included in the diets was based on the relative importance of these foods within the Canadian context. Lastly, the distributions of nutrients and energy for the simulated diets will be assessed against thresholds of acceptability. The process will cycle between both steps until an acceptable pattern is obtained. Any deviations will be discussed with expert advisors.


Conclusions: The proposed methodology is being used to create a revised healthy eating pattern for Canadians. The pattern will be shared in Spring 2019, and it will add precision to the Dietary Guidance Policy Report to be released in Spring 2018.




Funding Source: N/A

CoAuthors: Lidia Loukine, MSc – Health Canada; Heather McMillan, MAHN, RD – Health Canada; Dean Simmons, MSc, RD – Health Canada; Shannon Olson, RD – Health Canada ; Chantal Martineau, MSc, Dt.P. – Health Canada ; Sylvie St-Pierre, PhD – Health Canada

Lisa-Anne Elvidge Munene

Nutrition Advisor
Health Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada