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AIHW report: nutrition across the life stages

14 / 03 / 19

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) nutrition across the life stages report investigates the adequacy of the Australian diet across various life stages and brings together the latest available data from a variety of sources (including the previously published Australian Health Survey). Here are some summary statements from the report:

The good news

  • Since 1995, the contribution of added sugars, total fat and saturated fat to total energy has generally decreased
  • There has been a decrease in discretionary food intake since 1995 in most age groups
  • Overall the diet of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians is largely similar, although in some age groups indigenous intake is worse:
    • lower fruit, vegetables, dairy products and alternatives for those aged 19–50 and 71 and over.
    • lower grain foods for those aged 19–50.
    • higher discretionary food intake in women aged 19–30, and men and women aged 31–50.
    • higher added sugars in those aged 19–30 and 31–50.

The bad news

  • About one third of energy is from discretionary foods, and this is highest (41%) for teenagers aged 14-18 years:
    • for adults aged 51-70, alcoholic drinks account for 22% of discretionary food intake
    • the contribution of alcohol to energy intake has increased since 1995 in people aged 50 and over
    • for children, sweet biscuits, cakes and muffins, potato and corn chips, pastries, ice cream and fried potato products are leading contributors
  • Nearly all Australians (99%) aged 2-18 years, and 9 in 10 adults aged 19 and over do not eat recommended amounts of vegetables
  • Physical activity across population groups is low and overweight and obesity are high – 81% in men aged 51-70.
  • Lower socioeconomic status and greater distance from a major city is associated with poorer food and nutrient intakes, lower physical activity and higher overweight and obesity.

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