Eating habits in Australia – the results? Could do better…

24.06.14 Eat, Learn Blog SumoSalad
Australian health survey

There is good news and bad news about eating habits in Australia, according to a report just released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Good, because 75% of us are eating vegetables on a daily basis. Bad, because 35% of our average energy intake comes from junk food or ‘discretionary food’ as it’s known in the biz. But what is even more worrying is that kids aged 14-18 years are getting 41% of their total energy from this food group.

Despite this, if we looked at the results of this survey like the results of a test, as a nation we certainly haven’t failed and there is plenty to congratulate ourselves about. But as the following results show, there is some definite room for improvement.

  • Australians 2 years and older consumed on average 3.1kg of food & beverages (including water) over the 24hrs of the survey. That seems like a lot!
  • Vegetables were consumed by 75% of us which is not too bad. The catch however is that less than 7% of the population actually ate enough vegetables to meet their recommended intake. Considering how good veggies are for us and how low in energy, this is something that we need to change.
  • Fruit faired a little better than veg, with 60% of people eating some fruit, and just over half (54%) meeting their daily recommended intake.

Other results indicate that almost all of us have some kind of cereal every day, for example bread or breakfast cereal and most of us consume a dairy product like milk or cheese.

Chicken has definitely overtaken red meats in popularity, with 31% of participants eating chicken verses only 20% of people consuming beef. And we are still reliant on good old carbohydrates for our energy intake which make up 45% of the total.

So what changes can we make in our everyday lives to improve these results? There are two very simple ways we can help ourselves:

  • Increase consumption of vegetables and fruit – this will help bump up total nutrient intake, as well as fibre
  • Eat less discretionary foods – maybe even replace these with vegetables & fruit. This will help reduce your total daily energy intake (help keep us within a healthy weight range) as well as reduce consumption of all those nasties that just help lead to lifestyle disease.

If as a nation we can make these two changes to our own and our family’s diet, we’ll be super healthy by the time the next survey rolls around.


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