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Dietary energy is required by the body for metabolic processes, physiological functions, muscular activity, heat production and growth and development.1 Energy requirements vary with age, sex, body size and physical activity, so the amount of energy consumed would be expected to vary considerably throughout the population. On the day prior to interview, the average energy intake was 9,655 kilojoules (kJ) for males and 7,402 kJ for females see Table 1.1. However, this is likely to be an under-estimate due to the inherent under-reporting bias associated with dietary surveys. It is difficult, from the available data, to accurately estimate the amount of under-reporting that has occurred and therefore how much energy and nutrients might be missing from the intakes reported by respondents. One method is to estimate the mean amount of energy required for each individual to achieve an EI:BMR ratio of 1.55 (i.e. the conservative minimum energy requirement for a normally active but sedentary population). Using this method, it is estimated that the average energy intakes may be understated by as much as 17% in males and 21% in females. The factor most closely associated with under-reporting was BMI, where people who were overweight or obese were most likely to have lower than expected energy intakes. For more information see Under-reporting in Nutrition Surveys in the AHS Users' Guide.
Energy intakes were lowest among the toddler aged children who averaged 5,951 kJ and were highest among 19-30 year old males (11,004 kJ). Female energy intakes were highest among the 14-18 year olds (8,114 kJ).
Footnote(s): (a) on the day prior to interview.
Source(s): Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Food and Nutrients, 2011-12
The leading sub-major food groups contributing energy were Mixed dishes where cereal is the major ingredient (9.9%), Regular breads, and bread rolls (7.7%), Beef, sheep and pork (including mixed dishes) (5.7%), Poultry (including in mixed dishes) (5.4%), Dairy milk (4.3%), Breakfast cereals ready to eat (3.7%) and Cakes, muffins, scones, cake-type desserts (3.5%) see Table 8.1.
1. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical
Research Council <http://www.nrv.gov.au/dietary-energy>, Last accessed 02/05/2014. Back
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