Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

We’re just not eating right:

Australians are eating more cake than fruit and the staple of young people is soft drink, burgers & chips.
By Motherpedia
Date: May 10 2014
Editor Rating:

Teenagers and young adults consume more soft drinks, burgers and chips than any other age group according to the Australian Health Survey.

The survey from the Australian Bureau of Statistics is the first comprehensive analsysis of what Australians are eating in almost 20 years. Some of the findings include:

  • 51% of teenage males (aged 14-18 years) and 44% of young men (aged 19-30 years) had consumed soft drink on the day prior to the interview. This compares with 30% for the rest of the population;
  • 68% of adults are eating biscuits and cakes daily;
  • 58% of adults are eating fruit daily;
  • 40% of teenage and young men eat fruit daily;
  • 50% of teenage and young women eat fruit daily;
  • 75% of teenagers and young adults had vegetables on the day before the survey but almost half of this was potatoes only.

According to the Director of Cardiovascular Programs at the National Heart Foundation, Kellie-Ann Jolly, there are other very concerning trends with only 7% of Australians eating enough fruit and vegetables and with most people eating well in excess of the recommended intake of salt. 

"Everyone knows it's important to eat a balanced diet and be active, but this data reveals just how many of us struggle to achieve this healthier lifestyle," said Ms Jolly. "Tackling our weight problem needs to be the country's top priority as being overweight puts a lot of strain on bodies."

The survey also reported that 2.3 million Australians aged over 15 years are on some form of diet, either to lose weight or for specific health reasons. Being on a diet is most prevalent amongst 51-70 year olds.

A further 3.7million people report having a food intolerance or allergy, with the most common intolerance being cow's milk followed by gluten.

The Heart Foundation believes that part of the solution lies in the development of the Government's 'food reformulation' program.

"We need robust food labelling, a comprehensive reformulation program and solid education campaigns," Ms Jolly said.

"The importance of working with industry cannot be understated.

"With poor diet a driving force behind obesity, cardiovascular disease and many chronic diseases, we've long known what we should eat but haven't known what we're actually eating - until now."

Ms Jolly said she hopes there is regular and consistent nutrition data to help inform future population health approaches.

The survey was based on the dietary recall of 12,100 Australian adults and children and is the most comprehensive sutdy ever conducted on the health of Australians. 

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