ENC Newsletter October 2013

This issue makes for interesting reading as we provide a summary of the key results from the recently released National Health Measures Survey. This survey provides up to date data on the state of the nation’s health, providing recent statistics on how we are faring when it comes to rates of diabetes, dyslipidemia, and risk factors for kidney and liver disease. The good news from the survey is that while the prevalence of diabetes and dyslipidemia remains high, it appears to have stabilised or reduced since 1999-2000. This shows that messages about healthy eating and leading an active lifestyle may be translating to improving the nation’s health.

This issue also provides information about our new Healthy Eating – Managing Good Nutrition CPD initiative. Accessed through ThinkGP, this program provides an overview of key healthy eating principles for pregnancy, allergies, cholesterol management and ageing.
Please also join us in celebrating the humble egg by enjoying your favourite egg dishes and recipes on 11 October 2013, the date for this years World Egg Day!

The Egg Nutrition Council

Published: 2 October 2013

The State of Australia’s Health – an update

 The first biomedical results released from the National Health Measures Survey (NHMS)1 in August show one in three Australian adults, or 5.6million people, have high total cholesterol levels. Of concern is the finding that only one in every ten people tested with high levels knew about it, highlighting the importance of regular health checks.  This is particularly relevant for those aged 45 years and over with the survey showing 75% of Australians in this age group had lipid related risk factors for heart disease. The good news is that compared to results from AusDiab in 1999-2000, the prevalence of abnormal lipid levels has reduced. The table below shows a more detailed breakdown of the plasma lipid results for those aged 25 years and over compared to 1999-2000.



Percentage   affected


NHMS 2011-12

AusDiab 1999-2000

High total   cholesterol



High LDL



High triglycerides  





The NHMS is part of the Australian Health Survey.  Participants in the NHMS aged over 12 years of age were asked to volunteer for blood tests while those over 5 years of age volunteered for urine tests. In total, around 11,000 people were included in this component of the survey. In addition to plasma lipids, other tests included fasting plasma glucose, HbA1c, urinary albumin creatinine ratio, estimated glomerular filtration rate, liver enzymes and haemoglobin.


The data shows 4% of Australians have been diagnosed with diabetes with an additional 1% having the condition but not being aware of it. In addition, for every four people diagnosed, three people are at high risk of developing diabetes.  In terms of trends, the prevalence of diabetes appears to be similar to that found in the AusDiab study conducted in 1999-2000.

 Impact of Obesity

Not surprisingly, weight was found to have a significant impact on the prevalence of some conditions. People who were obese were 7 times more likely to have diabetes than normal or underweight Australians. Obese people were also nearly five times as likely to have high triglyceride levels and more than twice as likely to have lower than normal levels of HDL cholesterol compared to those who were of normal weight or underweight.

 Other findings

Other results from the survey include those related to kidney disease with one in ten adults showing signs of chronic kidney disease and rates increasing exponentially from age 64 years onwards. Signs of liver damage were also detected in 11-12% of people aged 18 years and over.

 This newly released data provides useful information on the state of Australia’s health and will assist in prioritising areas for improvement. Constant surveillance of trends over time will assist in determining key public health initiatives that serve to assist in improving Australia’s health and lowering the numbers of those with risk factors for chronic disease.

 For more information on the survey results, visit www.abs.gov.au



Protein intake and lean body mass in older adults

A cross-sectional study of 237 community-dwelling adults between the ages of 65 and 92 years found protein intake, but not physical activity was positively associated with lean body mass.  Protein intake was assessed with a 3-day weighed food record, physical activity was self-reported and lean body mass was determined using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.  The average protein intake in males was 0.98 ± 0.28 g/kg and 0.95 ± 0.29 g/kg in females.  The difference in lean body mass was 2.3kg between the first and fourth quartiles of protein intake.  Encouraging older adults to consume sufficient protein may assist with maintaining lean body mass.

Source:Geirsdottir OG, et al.  Nutrition Research 2013;33(8):608-612

 Eating breakfast lowers the risk of coronary heart disease in men

This cohort study investigated the effect of dietary patterns and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).  The study included 26,902 men aged between 45 and 82 years old who were followed up for 16 years starting in 1992.  Eating pattern and diet, along with CHD outcomes, were assessed using standardised questionnaires. Results showed that skipping breakfast was associated with a 27% increased risk of CHD and late night eating increased the risk of CHD by 55%.  These associations also related to BMI, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia and diabetes. There was no association between the number of meals eaten in a day and CHD risk however eating breakfast may contribute to lowering the risk of CHD in men.

Source:Cahill LE, et al. Circulation 2013;128:337-343

 Heating allergens is better tolerated in children with food allergy?

This review assessed data on the use of heated allergens for immunotherapy in children with food allergy.  Heated allergens may be better tolerated as the protein structure of the allergen can change during the heating process, in turn affecting the allergic response.  Animal studies have shown that when egg-sensitised mice were challenged with raw egg proteins they all had an anaphylaxis, however none reacted to heated proteins.  Similarly, in human studies, heated eggs have been shown to reduce skin weal diameters, allergen-specific IgE and IgG4 levels.  The conclusions were that cooked eggs may not need to be avoided in children with egg allergy and this can result in a more liberalised diet and a better quality of life. 

 Source: Netting M, et al. Nutrients 2013;5:2028-2046


  Egg Nutrition Council launches Education Program: Healthy Eating – Managing Good Nutrition


The Egg Nutrition Council is proud to announce the launch of a newly developed accredited education program; Healthy Eating – Managing Good Nutrition.

This program provides a basic refresher on nutrition information, so why wait? Click on the link below and share it with your colleagues today. GO TO www.thinkgp.com.au/enc

The one hour program provides straight forward nutrition information and case study examples which will update you on the latest nutrition information.

After completing the education program, you will be issued a certificate and 1 hour of continuingeducation will be recognised with your specific organisations.

Interactive Segments

  • Healthy eating for pregnancy and lactation
  • Healthy eating for allergies
  • Healthy eating to maintain good cholesterol
  • Healthy eating for aging

Lead Author

Sharon Natoli, Accredited Practising Dietitian, Food & Nutrition Australia and member of ENC. 


World Egg Day

World Egg Day is taking place this coming October 11 and is a fantastic opportunity to get cracking and enjoy your favourite egg dish. Since 1996 events have been held around the world to celebrate the humble yet versatile egg and the vital role it plays in people’s diets globally. Visit www.eggs.org.au for some inspiring and nutritious egg recipe ideas to mark the occasion.