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Med J Aust 2019; 211 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50334
Published online: 16 September 2019

A global survey has found that the United Kingdom has the healthiest packaged foods and drinks, followed by the United States and Australia, as published in Obesity Reviews. The George Institute for Global Health analysed more than 400 000 food and drink products from 12 countries and territories. The survey highlights the high levels of sugar, saturated fat, salt, and energy density in many popular food. The countries were ranked with the Australian Health Star Rating system, assigns a star rating from ½ (least healthy) to 5 (most healthy) according to the measured levels of energy, salt, sugar, saturated fat, protein, calcium, and fibre. The survey found that the highest mean Health Star Ratings were for products in the UK (2.83), the US (2.82), and Australia (2.81). The lowest mean ratings were for India (2.27), China (2.43) and Chile (2.44). Drinks in China were among the healthiest in the survey, with an average Health Star Rating of 2.9, but packaged foods scored only 2.39. The mean Health Star Rating for drinks in South Africa was only 1.92, but the mean score for its foods was 2.87. Salt levels in foods and drinks were highest in Canada, with a median 291 mg sodium/100 g, and the US (279 mg/100 g). Median sugar levels were lowest in the UK (3.8 g/100 g) and Canada (4.6 g/100 g). China's packaged foods and beverages included the highest median levels of saturated fat (3.4 g/100 g); median sugar levels were highest in China (8.3 g/100 g) and India (7.3 g/100 g). India's packaged foods and drinks were the most energy‐dense (median 1515 kJ/100 g) and South African products the least energy‐dense (median 1044 kJ/100 g).



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