The Difference Between slogan of “Healthy Four Perfect Five” with “Balanced Nutrition”

Home / The Difference Between slogan of “Healthy Four Perfect Five” with “Balanced Nutrition”
The previous edition has shared definition of Balanced Nutrition, its history, windows of opportunity, and double burden on malnutrition. The following will look into the difference between healthy eating with Healthy Four Perfect Five principles and those of Balanced Nutrition.

Following to the principles of Balanced Nutrition[1], the application of “Guideline to Balanced Nutrition” (GBN) cannot be imposed equally for each group of people. Requirement on GBN would be different depend on age, health status, and physical activity of each group. In the contrary, the principles of “Healthy Four Perfect Five (H4P5)”, applies uniformly to all people over two years of age.

It is unclear how the guidelines of which the foods are qualitatively separated into four groups, can respond to the needs of various people segments of society. At the creation of the slogan “H4P5″ in the 1950s, it was assumed people have healthier eating habits which lead to prevention and reduction of public health problems due to under-nutrition and over-nutrition. This assumption did not occurred, both in Indonesia and other countries, including in the U.S., the country of origin of 4H5P. Therefore the 4H5P guideline has been internationally replaced at the early 1990’s by a more detailed guideline  which is called ” Guideline to Balanced Nutrition” (GBN) for the following reasons.


  • Composition of dish consisting four food groups is not necessarily healthy, depending on whether the proportions and types of nutrients are in accordance to the need. For example, if the biggest portion of our diet consists of carbohydrates (rice), with few sources of protein, and some vegetables and fruits as source of vitamins, the diet cannot be considered healthy. Likewise, the dish consists of too much fat and protein sources, with small portion of vegetables and fruit, the diet cannot be considered healthy.
  • In addition to type of food, the diet based on the GBN, also emphasize on food proportions for each group which are adjusted or balanced with the body needs. GBN also consider aspects of food hygiene, physical activity, and other healthy lifestyle.


  • Milk is not a “perfect food” as generally assumed so far. With that assumption many people, including governments, think milk is the “answer” to the problem of nutrition. Milk is a source of animal protein as also found in eggs, fish and meat.
  • At the GBN, milk is grouped with other sources of animal protein. Digestibility of protein from eggs has better quality than protein from milk.


  • The slogan Healthy Four and Perfect Five (H4P5) which was popularized by Prof. Poorwo Soedarmo, the Founders of Nutrition Indonesia, was considered relevant in the 1950’s. Since the 1990s it is no longer suitable with the development of nutrition science and technology. The modification is also corresponding with the slogan change of “Basic Four” in America which was the embryo of H4P5. “Basic Four” from the U.S. that was created in the 1940s aimed at to prevent from bad eating patterns of Americans who tend to eat much of fat, high sugar and less fiber. However, after being evaluated in the 1970s, the slogan does not improve the diets of Americans, manifested by an increase in nutrition-related degenerative diseases.
  • Since then, the slogan “Basic Four” is updated and refined into “Nutrition Guide for Balance Diet” with the visual pyramid. In Indonesia “Nutrition Guide for Balance Diet” is translated as GBN which also uses a visual pyramid. Unlike the U.S. Nutrition Guide that applies to the age of 2 years, in Indonesia GBN is applicable since infants by including exclusive breast feeding for Balanced Nutrition.

At the 1992 world food conference in Rome and Geneva, organized by FAO, has among others stipulated that all States which was originally using a similar slogan such as “Basic Four”, adjusted into the “Nutrition Guide for Balanced Diet”. The decision is considered essential to prepare a healthy lifestyle in anticipating the double burden of malnutrition. FAO’s decision was implemented in Indonesia in the policy of Five Year Plan (Repelita) V 1995 as PGS and become part of nutrition improvement program. However, PGS is not sufficiently promoted resulting misunderstanding and people tend to continue using 4H5P

Only in 2009, is PGS officially accepted, following the Health Act No. 36 of 2009 which explicitly mentions “Balanced Nutrition” in the nutrition improvement program.

[1] Balanced Nutrition is composition of daily meals which contain various nutrients in which the amount is suitable to the body need and in considering variety of food, physical activity, cleanliness, and ideal body weight

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