Official figures: Australian diets lacking fruit and vegetables

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Discretionary foods are increasingly filling the void
Discretionary foods are increasingly filling the void

Related tags Nutrition

Only half of Australians eat enough fruit and just six in 100 meet the recommended daily intake of vegetables, official data reveals.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ nutrition health survey asked respondents how many portions of fruit and vegetables they had eaten over the previous 24 hours between 2011 and 2012. It found that many Australians struggled to keep their diets within healthy guidelines.

Health officials recommend that Australians consume two 150g servings of fruit a day, and five portions of vegetables over 75g each. They give fruit and vegetables nutritional priority over bread and cereals, which also used to be at the top of the list.

More alarming is how Australian nutrition trends have been changing with more high-fat, high-salt or alcoholic “discretionary foods​” which do not provide the nutrients the body needs.

One-third of the adults interviewed had consumed alcohol over the previous day, and obtained 6% of their daily discretionary energy intake from alcoholic drinks. Alcohol consumption, like that of fats, carbohydrates and protein, falls on average within acceptable boundaries for health.

Australian men struggled to keep to the recommended 2,300mg intake of salt, exceeding it by 17%, while most women had difficulty adhering to the recommended calcium intake of 840mg for women aged up to 50, and 1,100mg beyond that.

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