A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), released last October, suggests the quality of Australians’ diet is poor.
The report presents data on Australian diets across the stages of life, mapping whether or not different age groups are meeting Australia’s food and nutrient recommendations. The report shows that across all stages of life, Australians generally do not eat enough food from the 5 food groups.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines encourage people to consume the right types and amounts of food from the 5 food groups (vegetables, fruit, grains, lean meat and alternatives, and dairy products and alternatives), while limiting intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol.
AIHW spokesperson Claire Sparke says very few of us eat enough vegetables. “This is at its worst among children aged 2–18, 99% of whom do not eat enough vegetables,” Ms Sparke says.
Similar results were seen for the other food groups.
Only children aged 2–8 meet the fruit recommendations.
For grains, only males aged 4–11, females aged 9–11 and females aged 71 and over meet the recommendations.
Toddlers aged 2–3 are the only group to meet the dairy recommendations.
About one-third of Australians’ energy intake comes from “discretionary food”, such as cakes, biscuits, confectionary, pastries, potato chips, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks. These are not necessary to provide the nutrients we need. The level is even higher for teenagers, making up more than 40% of their daily energy intake.
For more information on the Australian Dietary Guidelines, visit www.eatforhealth.gov.au.