4364.0.55.007 - Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Foods and Nutrients, 2011-12  
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VEGETABLE PRODUCTS AND DISHES

The Vegetable products and dishes food group includes vegetables and dishes where vegetable is the major component. e.g. zucchini slice and potato bake.

In 2011-12, three-quarters of people consumed Vegetable products and dishes on the day prior to interview. The largest contributing sub-major group was Potatoes (consumed by 31%) see Table 4.1 and Table 4.3. Around half (52%) of all potatoes consumed were boiled, baked, roasted, fried or grilled, with 32% eaten as chips, fries, wedges or similar products and the remainder (16%) eaten in mixed dishes such as mashed potato or potato bake see Table 5.3.

Dishes where vegetables are the major component were consumed by 22% of people see Table 4.1. This was mostly comprised of Salads (73%) and Vegetable and sauce dishes such as vegetable casseroles and curries (23%) see Table 5.3.

Graph Image for Persons aged 2 years and over - Vegetable consumption(a), 2011-12

Footnote(s): (a) On the day prior to interview. (b) Includes mushrooms, cucumber, sweetcorn, pumpkin, avocado, capsicum and zucchini.

Source(s): Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Food and Nutrients, 2011-12



Apart from potatoes and the vegetables consumed in salads and mixed dishes, the most popularly consumed vegetables were tomatoes (consumed by 18%), leaf vegetables (mainly lettuce) (17%) and carrots (14%) see Table 4.3.

The average amount of vegetables consumed was 156 grams per day, but consumption varied with age group. For example, young people aged 14 to 18 years consumed an average of 123 grams per day while people aged 51-70 consumed an average 179 grams per day see Table 5.1.

Graph Image for Persons aged 2 years and over - Average daily vegetable consumption(a), 2011-12

Footnote(s): (a) on the day prior to interview

Source(s): Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Food and Nutrients, 2011-12



The greater average vegetable intake among adults compared with teenagers is explained by the higher intake of non-potato vegetables in the older age group. For example, people aged 51-70 years consumed an average 134 grams of non-potato vegetables, twice as much as the 14-18 year olds (67 grams) see Table 5.1.

'USUAL' SERVES OF VEGETABLES

In addition to collecting information about the foods actually consumed on the previous day, the 2011-12 AHS also asked people the usual number of serves of vegetables consumed in a day (where a serve is equivalent to half a cup of cooked vegetables, half a medium potato or 1 cup of salad vegetables). The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend a minimum number of servings per day based on individuals' age and sex.


    Recommended usual intake of vegetables

    The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend a minimum number of serves of vegetables and legumes/beans each day, depending on age and sex, to ensure good nutrition and health. The table below outlines the recommended number of serves for children, adolescents and adults. A serve is approximately half a cup of cooked vegetables or legumes/beans or one cup of salad vegetables - equivalent to around 75 grams.*

    RECOMMENDED DAILY SERVES OF VEGETABLES, by age

    AgeVegetables for malesVegetables for females

    2-3 years2.52.5
    4-8 years4.54.5
    9-11 years55
    12-13 years5.55
    14-18 years5.55
    19-50 years65**
    51-70 years5.55
    70+ years55

    *Note, while the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines include servings of legumes and beans in the recommendations for vegetable intake, the AHS only collected serves of vegetables (excluding legumes).
    **Note, the recommended usual intake of vegetables for breastfeeding women is 7.5 serves and pregnant women is 5 serves, however these population groups have not been separated from the nutrient data output for this data item.

Overall, just 6.8% of the population met the recommended usual intake of vegetables.1 Children aged 2-3 years (where the recommended number of serves is two and a half serves) were most likely to meet that with 49% usually eating 2 serves. Least likely to eat the recommended number of serves of vegetables were 19-30 year old males where just 1.6% usually ate 6 or more serves per day.

Graph Image for Persons aged 2 years and over - Met recommended vegetable serves, based on usual serves as reported in AHS(a)(b)(c)

Footnote(s): (a) Based on Usual serves of vegetables from Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-12 (b) According to the NHMRC Australian Dietary Guidelines, 2013. (c) See endnote 1

Source(s): Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-12



ENDNOTES
  1. The AHS questionnaire was developed prior to the release of the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines and consequently the units used in the AHS (whole serves) do not allow strict comparability with the guidelines (in which some age/sex groups use half serves). The data presented have been derived by rounding the recommendation down to the whole number of serves, it is therefore likely that proportions who would meet the recommendation in particular categories are overestimates. Back