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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/04/2008   
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Contents >> Health Risk Factors >> POOR NUTRITION

POOR NUTRITION

Fruit and vegetable consumption is strongly linked to the prevention of chronic disease and to better health (NHMRC 2003a, NHMRC 2003b). Many of the principal causes of ill-health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are diseases that can be affected by poor nutrition, such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and kidney disease (AHMAC 2006). In 2003, insufficient fruit and vegetable consumption contributed to 3% of the total burden of disease and 6% of deaths for Indigenous Australians (Vos et al 2007).

In 2004-05, the majority of Indigenous people aged 12 years and over reported eating vegetables (95%) and/or fruit (86%) on a daily basis. Fruit and vegetables may be less accessible to Indigenous people living in remote areas, where one in five (20%) reported no usual daily fruit intake compared with one in eight (12%) in non-remote areas. The disparity was even greater for vegetable consumption, where 15% of people in remote areas reported no usual daily intake compared with only 2% in non-remote areas.

The NHMRC guidelines recommend a minimum of five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit per day (see the Glossary for more information). Of people in non-remote areas, 42% were eating the recommended daily intake of fruit and 10% the recommended daily intake of vegetables. Indigenous people in remote areas were not asked to specify how many serves of fruit and vegetables they usually eat on a daily basis.

After adjusting for age differences between the two populations, there was little difference in the rates of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who did not meet the recommended daily intake of vegetables (89% compared with 86%), however Indigenous people were more likely than non-Indigenous people to have not met the recommended daily intake of fruit (55% compared with 46%). In both populations, women were more likely than men to meet the daily fruit and vegetable intake requirement.





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