Consuming a healthy diet throughout the life-course helps to prevent malnutrition, as well as a range of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)
- contributes to optimal quality of life
- helps maintain healthy body weight, reducing the risk of overweight and obesity
- protects against infection
- reduces the risk of disease and chronic conditions, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some forms of cancer
- reduces the risk of premature death.
No single food provides all the nutrients required. Hence, it is of utmost importance to consume a varied but healthy diet, based on the Maltese dietary recommendations published in accordance with the Food and Nutrition Policy and Action Plan for Malta (2015-2020). The guidelines are directed to the general adult Maltese population (19-65 years) with a graphical representation of the Healthy Plate (Figure 1) representing the six main food groups (Figure 2) which the Maltese people are encouraged to include in their daily healthy diet.
Messages are directed at selecting a wide variety of nutritious foods from each of the six food groups every day, limiting the consumption of saturated and trans-fat, sugar, and salt, together with limited consumption of processed meat. The importance of drinking water is emphasised together with recommendations to keep active and limiting the intake of alcohol, should one choose to consume it. The size of each food group segment reflects the proportion the group should contribute to the total daily diet.
Figure 1. The Healthy Plate
However, increased production of processed foods, rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles have led to a shift in dietary patterns. People are now consuming more foods high in energy, fats, free sugars and salt/sodium, and many people do not eat enough fruit, vegetables, and other dietary fibre such as whole grains. Tobacco use, and alcohol misuse is on the increase, together with reduction in physical activity.
Figure 2. Portion Size summary from the different food groups
HPDPMalta can assist you through our weight management programme ‘Piż Tajjeb Tul Ħajtek’. This programme is delivered by a team of registered nutritionists and physical activity instructors, in various localities around Malta. Every week, a two-hour interactive session on nutrition is delivered, followed by an hour-long session of physical activity. In these sessions, we provide knowledge and skills related to healthy eating, the Mediterranean diet and portion sizes. We will help you choose healthier food products by learning how to read and understand food labels. Through this increased knowledge, we can help you lose weight, improve your lifestyle, and maintain a healthy weight for life. This service is now also available online and can be followed from the comfort of your own home.
Interested applicants must be over 18 years of age, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 25. You may apply for this programme by completing the form ‘Healthy Weight for Life’ from our website. Alternatively, you may call our offices on the Nutrition Helpline 8007 3307 and leave your details with us.
Educational material on different health topics and recipes.
HPDP produces various publications on different health topics such as nutrition, portion sizes from the different food groups, shopping guide, mental health, sexual health and also healthy recipes booklets. A hard copy of any of our material can be accessed by phoning 2326 6000. These are also available online here.