Cheesecakes, corn chips, lollies and pastries are dominating the national diet, with a new report finding Australians eating less fruits and vegetables now than ever before.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics released Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Foods and Nutrients, the first detailed report into Australia’s eating habits for 15 years on Friday.
The report shows Australians are eating 30 per cent less fruit and vegetables now than 15 years ago, with under seven per cent of the population getting enough veggies daily and around 54 per cent consuming enough fruit.
The findings also revealed that more than one-third of total daily energy intake was found in discretionary foods including cakes, desserts, processed meats, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, ice-cream and other fatty/salty snack foods.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the trends were alarming.
“It’s quite concerning to see fruit and vegetables – an absolutely vital part of a healthy, balanced diet – being replaced by extra carbohydrates, sugar, salty and fatty foods,” Ms Clift said.
“The country’s growing overweight and obesity statistics reflect these shocking trends, and the solution is long overdue.
“Health organisations may sound like they’ve been repeating themselves for years – but the message just isn’t getting through.
“In Queensland alone, obesity rates have doubled in the past 16 years. We have the highest rate of obesity nationally – 10 per cent higher than the Australian average.
“It’s crucial that Australians get the best possible education about health and nutrition, including physical activity advice to help them live well and experience better quality of life.
“Eating a poor diet can lead to overweight or obesity, and increase the risk of a range of chronic diseases – including some cancers.
“Initiatives like the voluntary Health Star Rating Scheme are vital to help Australians make informed choices to improve their health in the short and long term.
“Effective front-of-pack labelling has the potential to reduce consumers’ intake of kilojoules, saturated fat, sugars and sodium – leading to reductions in obesity rates and a range of chronic diseases.
“It’s imperative that we find ways to reduce our intake of unhealthy, fatty, salty foods and increase opportunities to eat nourishing, beneficial fruit and vegetables.”
Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Foods and Nutrients found Australians consume an estimated three kilos of food and beverages daily.
Research shows up to one-third of all cancers are preventable through lifestyle changes including eating healthily and maintaining a healthy weight.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.