4727.0.55.001 - Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: First Results, Australia, 2012-13  
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Contents >> Health risk factors >> Daily fruit and vegetable intake

DAILY FRUIT AND VEGETABLE INTAKE

Poor nutrition is a significant risk factor for selected cancers, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Poor nutrition (usually excess fats and sugar without comparable energy use) can also contribute to high body mass, which in turn is an independent risk factor for these same health conditions. Malnutrition may also be an outcome where poor nutrition or where the low volume of foods are problematic. The 2003 Australian Burden of Disease Study estimated that low fruit and vegetable intake accounts for around 4% of the total burden of disease and injury for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Endnote 1).

Data source and definitions

Usual daily intake of fruit and vegetables in the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey is based on self-reported number of serves of fruit and vegetables eaten daily.

A serve of vegetables was defined as half a cup of cooked vegetables, one medium potato or one cup of salad vegetables (approximately 75 grams). Tomatoes were included as a vegetable rather than a fruit, and legumes were excluded.

A serve of fruit was defined as one medium piece or two small pieces of fresh fruit, one cup of diced fruit, one-quarter of a cup of sultanas, or four dried apricot halves (approximately 150 grams of fresh fruit or 50 grams of dried fruit). Fruit juices were not considered to be fruit.

The National Health and Medical Research Council released new guidelines on daily fruit and vegetable intake in 2013 (NHMRC Guidelines). The data presented below reflect, as closely as possible, these guidelines (Glossary).

Adequate daily fruit intake has been defined as two or more serves per day.

Adequate daily vegetable intake has been defined as five or more serves per day for:

  • 15–17 year olds;
  • all females aged 18 years and over; and
  • men aged 50 years and over.

Adequate daily vegetable intake has been defined as six serves or more for:
  • men aged 18–49 years
RESULTS FROM 2012–13

DAILY FRUIT INTAKE

In 2012–13, less than half (43%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over reported eating an adequate amount of fruit each day.

Similar proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and females were eating an adequate amount of fruit each day (41% and 44%, respectively). However, a significantly higher proportion of males than females reported eating less than one serve of fruit each day (31% compared with 25%).

DAILY FRUIT INTAKE BY SEX, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people(a)—2012–13
Graph:Daily Fruit Intake by Sex

In 2012–13, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over in remote areas were more likely than those in non-remote areas to have reported an adequate daily fruit intake (49% compared with 41%). A significantly higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in non-remote areas than remote areas reported eating less than one serve of fruit each day (29% compared with 22%).

DAILY FRUIT INTAKE BY REMOTENESS, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people(a)—2012–13
Graph:Daily Fruit Intake by Remoteness

DAILY VEGETABLE INTAKE

In 2012–13, only one in twenty (5%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over reported eating an adequate amount of vegetables each day. Females were more likely than males to have eaten the recommended daily number of serves of vegetables (7% compared with 3%).

DAILY VEGETABLE INTAKE BY SEX, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people(a)—2012–13
Graph:Daily Vegetable Intake by Sex

In 2012–13, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over in non-remote areas were more likely than those in remote areas to have reported an adequate daily vegetable intake (5% compared with 3%). A significantly higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in non-remote areas than remote areas reported eating one serve of vegetables each day (28% compared with 22%).

DAILY VEGETABLE INTAKE BY REMOTENESS, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people(a)—2012–13
Graph:Daily Vegetable Intake by Remoteness


CHANGE OVER TIME

Information on daily serves of fruit and vegetables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was not collected at the national level in the 2004–05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey.

HOW DO THESE RATES COMPARE WITH THE RATES FOR NON-INDIGENOUS PEOPLE?

After adjusting for differences in age structure between the two populations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were less likely than non-Indigenous people to be eating an adequate amount of fruit each day (rate ratio of 0.9). The difference in age standardised rates was statistically significant.

After adjusting for differences in age structure between the two populations, the proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over and non-Indigenous people who were eating an adequate amount of vegetables each day were not significantly different (rate ratio of 0.9).
ENDNOTES
    1. Vos T, Barker B, Stanley L, Lopez AD 2007. The Burden of Disease and Injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2003, School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane.


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