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Defining ‘Unhealthy’: a systematic analysis of alignment between the Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADGs) and the Health Star Rating (HSR) system

20 / 07 / 18

Finding: There is very little misalignment between the HSR and the ADGs.

Summary: The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, set out to assess the alignment between the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Health Star Rating by assessing 47,116 packaged foods available in Australia using both methods. Foods were classified as either ‘core ‘or ‘discretionary’ according to the ADGs, and each had an HSR generated. Products were considered outliers (misclassified) if they were core but with a HSR ≤ 2, or ‘discretionary’ with a HSR ≥ 3.5. Overall alignment was good: 86.6% of products received an HSR aligned with their AFG. Of the 6324 outlier products, most (83%) were determined to be ADG failures, primarily because of difficulties in defining core vs discretionary foods. Seventeen percent of products (1078) were determined to be failures in the HSR algorithm. The authors make recommendations for strengthening both the ADGS and HSR.

Citation: Jones A, Radholm K, Neal B. Defining ‘Unhealthy’: a systematic analysis of alignment between the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Health Star Rating system. Nutrients 2018; 10 (4): 501 (full text access)