Aussies Choosing Treat Foods Over Fruits and Vegetables
According to results from the Australian Health Survey released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Aussies are choosing discretionary food – foods that are high in energy but low in nutritional value over fruits and vegetables.
Heart Foundation Dietitian, Shane Landon said the results further confirm what we know about the Australian diet.
“This data shows us the majority of Australians are not eating high quality diets in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
“Over a third (35 per cent) of Australians source their energy from discretionary foods with only six per cent meeting the recommended daily intake of vegetables and although better, just 52 per cent of people met the recommended usual daily intake of fruit,” Mr Landon said.
The survey found the proportion of people from each State and Territory who met the recommended usual daily intake of vegetables ranged between nine per cent in Tasmania and five per cent in Queensland, the Northern Territory and the ACT.
Those most likely to meet the recommendations for fruit were from the ACT and NSW (54 per cent) and least likely were from Tasmania (48 per cent).
“Having an unhealthy diet that is high in salt and saturated fat and low in nutritionally rich whole foods can lead to high LDL (bad) cholesterol and possibly high blood pressure, increasing your risk of heart disease – the single leading cause of death in Australia for both men and women,” Mr Landon said.
Interestingly, the choice of treat differed across the country with Northern Territorians having the highest proportion of people who consumed soft drink (33 per cent), however they were less keen on confectionary (20 per cent) and snack food (13 per cent), being the least likely to consume these foods.
Tasmanians were the fondest of confectionary with over a third (37 per cent) selecting it as their treat of choice and snack foods were most popular in NSW where 16 per cent of people ate them. On the other hand, soft drink was least popular in Canberra where only 23 per cent of people reported drinking it.
“There are so many competing ‘diets’ in the marketplace and the internet offers a plethora of mixed advice from questionable sources leading to confusion for many people in terms of what a healthy eating pattern looks like.
“Which is why the Heart Foundation believes we need to keep messages around food based on science, consistent and simple so that people have the confidence to adopt a healthier eating pattern, not a short term ‘diet’,” Mr Landon said.
For the full report findings and a breakdown for each State and Territory visit the ABS website http://www.abs.gov.au.