25 September 2023

Diet study gives AIHW indigestion

Start the conversation

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has published a new report on the diet habits of Australians at different stages of their lives and has declared its findings “aren’t good!”

The AIHW’s report, Nutrition Across the Life Stages, maps out whether or not different age groups were meeting Australia’s food and nutrient recommendations.

Spokesperson for the AIHW, Claire Sparke said the Australian Dietary Guidelines encouraged people to consume the right types and amounts of food to support their energy and nutrient needs.

Ms Sparke said these consisted of a variety of foods from the five food groups (vegetables, fruit, grains, lean meat and alternatives, and dairy products and alternatives), while also limiting intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol.

“They also encourage breastfeeding when possible, and preparing and storing food safely,” Ms Sparke said.

“The report shows that across all stages of life, Australians generally do not eat enough food from the five food groups.”

She said that as an example, very few people ate enough vegetables. This was at its worst among children aged two-to-18, where 99 per cent did not eat enough vegetables.

“When looking at the average daily intake of foods for different age groups, only children aged two-to-eight meet the fruit recommendations,” Ms Sparke said.

“For grains, only males aged four-to-11, females aged nine-to-11 and females aged 71 and over met the recommendations.

“Toddlers aged two-to-three are the only group to meet the dairy recommendations.”

She said Australians were also consuming too much added sugars, saturated fat and sodium (salt), which is probably because about one-third of their energy intake comes from discretionary food.

She said discretionary foods were foods and drinks that were not necessary to provide the nutrients needed and included items such as cakes, biscuits, confectionary, pastries, potato chips, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks.

The 127-page AIHW Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.