ADF Educators Guide to Healthy Eating (ADF EDGE)

Research Paper Title

ADF Educators Guide to Healthy Eating (ADF EDGE).

Executive Summary

In 2006, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) updated the Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) for Australia and New Zealand (NHMRC, 2006). Recommendations for Military NRVs (MNRVs) were subsequently developed in light of the new NRVs for Australia and New Zealand and published in a DSTO General Document titled

Australian Defence Force Nutritional Requirements in the 21st Century (Version 1). The MNRVs differ from the Australian NRVs in a number of aspects including recommendations for certain nutrients related to high-energy expenditure and to the balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.The NHMRC has also revised its analysis of what basic foods are required to attain the relevant nutrient and energy requirements for people of various ages, genders and activity Levels. This analysis has been used to develop the new

Australian Dietary Guidelines (NHMRC, 2013).While these guidelines are intended to apply to the general (i.e. civilian) population, they may also be used by defence personnel undertaking activities comparable to civilian jobs, many of which have lower energy needs. The higher energy needs of ADF personnel that are required when on specific and demanding military operations necessitated an additional analysis to take into account their specialised nutrient needs. Also, the types of foods for those with high energy needs have to differ from those for the general population to ensure high energy and nutrient density while limiting the overall volume of food consumed.

DSTO has, therefore, developed recommendations for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel that are practical and relevant to the ADF system for the provisioning of fresh food (ADF Fresh Food Provisioning Scale). The results have been incorporated into an update of the Australian Defence Force Ration Scale (ADFRS) SUPMAN 4, the catering manual used by Army and RAAF, and NAVSUPMAN 5, used by RAN.

The ADF EDGE, which is based on the ADFRS, outlines how dietary patterns can be developed for individuals of different ages, genders and activity Levels. As this is a guide for use with ADF personnel, which may be extended to their families, two different methods are presented for determining dietary choices:

  • A system tailored to the special needs of the adult (mostly male) ADF personnel eating in ADF catering facilities, particularly those undertaking moderate to high physical activity (Section 5); and
  • A system for ADF personnel with smaller body size and/or more sedentary occupations, which is based on the
  • Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (AGTHE) for the civilian population and is presented in an Appendix.Both systems rely on identifying the number of serves to include in the diet, based on energy requirements.

The Educators guide also provides advice regarding the nutritional needs for physical training, sensible eating for weight loss, interpreting food labels and special advice for eating from military messes while deployed overseas, and when eating combat rations.


Forbes-Ewan C. Australian Defence Force Nutritional Requirements in the 21st Century. DSTO-GD-0578. Melbourne: DSTO, 2009.Forbes-Ewan C, Malberg A. Development of a new Australian Defence Force Fresh Food Provisioning Scale (SUPMAN 4/ NAVSUPMAN 5 Review). DSTO-TR-2412. Melbourne: DSTO, 2010.

National Health and Medical Research Council, Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing (Australia), Ministry of Health (New Zealand) Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand including Recommended Dietary Intakes. Canberra: NHMRC, 2006.

National Health and Medical Research Council.

Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: NHMRC, 2013.

The report is available for download here.


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