The politics of developing reference standards for nutrient intakes : the case of Australia and New Zealand
Thuraisingam, Shanthi, Riddell, Lynn, Cook, Kay and Lawrence, Mark 2009, The politics of developing reference standards for nutrient intakes : the case of Australia and New Zealand, Public health nutrition, vol. 12, no. 9, pp. 1531-1539.
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Objective Nutrient Reference Values (NRV) are evidence-based benchmarks for assessing the dietary adequacy of individuals and population groups as well as informing public health nutrition policies and programmes. The present paper presents the findings of an analysis of the views of submitters to a draft document associated with the development of the 2006 NRV for Australia and New Zealand. The aim of the study was to explore how these views were reflected in the policy-making process and final policy document.
Design The information necessary to fulfil this aim required access to stakeholder submissions to the NRV development process and this necessitated exploiting the provisions of the Commonwealth of Australia’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 1982. We understand that the present research represents the first time that an FOI request seeking information about a National Health and Medical Research Council food and nutrition policy process has been made and therefore is novel in its approach to public health nutrition policy analysis.
Results The analysis of stakeholder submissions identified that stakeholders had particular concerns about the conduct of the review process and the future application of the nutrient values to policy and programmes. There is a lack of evidence that the majority of stakeholder comments were addressed in the final NRV document.
Conclusion Although these findings cannot be interpreted to assess the validity or otherwise of the set nutrient values, they do raise questions about the process for their development and the adequacy of the final document to reflect the views of key stakeholders.
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