4364.0.55.012 - Australian Health Survey: Consumption of Food Groups from the Australian Dietary Guidelines, 2011-12  
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FRUIT

Fruits, like vegetables, are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre, and dietary patterns including daily fruit consumption can help prevent chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.1 Other health benefits associated with consuming fruits include a reduced risk of obesity and weight gain.1

Fruits in the form of fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juices are all suitable foods to be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet.1

How much is a serve of fruit?1

A standard serve is about 150 g (350 kJ) or:

  • 1 medium apple, banana, pear or orange
  • 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
  • 1 cup diced or canned fruit (no added sugar)

Or only occasionally:
  • cup fruit juice (no added sugar)
  • 30 g dried fruit


HOW MANY SERVES OF FRUIT WERE CONSUMED?

In 2011-12, Australians usually consume an average of 1.5 serves of total fruits from non-discretionary sources. Children on average consumed more serves of total fruits than adults (1.7 compared with 1.5), particularly among those aged 2-11 years, who consumed an average of 1.8 serves. On average, males consumed only slightly more fruit (around 0.1 of a serve) than females.

This graph show the mean serves of fruit consumed from non-discretionary sources per day for Australians 2 years and over by age group and sex. Data is based on Day 1 of 24 hour dietary recall for 2011-12 NNPAS.
    (a) Based on Day 1. See Glossary for definition.
    (b) From non-discretionary sources.
    Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12.


HOW MANY PEOPLE MET THE RECOMMENDED NUMBER OF FRUIT SERVES?

Nearly one-third (31%) of the Australian population consumed the recommended number of serves of fruit on a usual basis. The youngest age groups were most likely to meet the recommendations with 78% of 2-3 year olds and 59% of 4-8 year olds usually consuming at least one and one and half serves respectively. In contrast, females aged 19-50 years had the lowest rate with 20% usually consuming the recommended 2 serves of fruit per day.
Fruit: recommended number of usual serves, median serves consumed and proportion meeting recommendation


Age group (years)
Recommended minimum (a)
Median (b)
Proportion meeting recommendation (b)
Serves
Serves
%

Males
Females
Males
Females
Males
Females
2-3
1
1
1.6
1.5
79.7
76.0
4-8
1
1
1.8
1.6
61.8
56.7
9-11
2
2
1.7
1.9
41.0
45.0
12-13
2
2
1.5
1.5
33.9
34.1
14-18
2
2
1.1
1.3
25.7
28.2
19-50
2
2
1.2
1.1
25.9
20.0
51-70
2
2
1.4
1.4
32.9
27.2
71 +
2
2
1.7
1.4
39.6
26.5

(a) National Health and Medical Research Council, 2013, Australian Dietary Guidelines https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/n55_australian_dietary_guidelines_130530.pdf
(b) From non-discretionary sources.
Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12

… Young children 2-8 years

The recommended number of fruit serves for children aged 2-3 years is 1 serve per day. Almost four out of five (78%) of them met that recommendation, including 31% who consumed 2 or more serves per day. Of the children who consumed less than 1 serve, the majority (17% of all children that age) had at least half a serve.

Children aged 4-8 years are recommended to have 1 serves of fruit per day, which is 50% more than the 2-3 year olds, yet they consumed a similar amount. Not surprisingly then, the proportion of children aged 4-8 years meeting the recommended fruit serves was lower at 59%. However, most (22%) of those who did not meet the recommended minimum were short by half a serve or less.

This graph shows the usual serves consumed per day from non-discretionary sources of fruit for males and females 2-3 years old. Data is based on usual intake from 2011-12 NNPAS.This graph shows the usual serves consumed per day from non-discretionary sources of fruit for males and females 4-8 years old. Data is based on usual intake from 2011-12 NNPAS.
    (a) Usual intake. See Glossary for definition.
    (b) From non-discretionary sources.
    Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12.

… Children and adolescents 9-18 years

Consuming at least 2 serves of fruit per day is recommended for all children and adolescents aged 9 years and over – which is also the recommendation for all adults.

Some 39% of children and adolescents aged 9-13 years met the recommended 2 serves of fruit per day. While another 17% were within half a serve of the recommendation, there remained one-quarter this age who usually consumed less than 1 serve.

Among adolescents aged 14-18 years, nearly three quarters were below the recommended guidelines (73%) and over half (59%) were having less than 1 serves, including 41% who usually consumed less than 1 serve per day.

This graph shows the usual serves consumed per day from non-discretionary sources of fruit for males and females 9-13 years old. Data is based on usual intake from 2011-12 NNPAS.This graph shows the usual serves consumed per day from non-discretionary sources of fruit for males and females 14-18 years old. Data is based on usual intake from 2011-12 NNPAS.
    (a) Usual intake. See Glossary for definition.
    (b) From non-discretionary sources.
    Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12.

… Adults 19 years and over

Around a quarter of the adult population met the recommended fruit consumption guidelines of 2 serves per day (26%), and over half (59%) had less than 1 serves on a usual basis. Although the proportion of total fruit consumers was higher among females on any given day in 2011-12, overall they were less likely to meet the recommended number of serves than males (23% compared with 29%), as males who did consume fruit ate larger amounts.

Among males, those aged 19-50 years had the lowest usual consumption of fruit with just over a quarter meeting the recommended two serves per day (26%). In contrast, males aged 51-70 years and 71 years and over were more likely to meet the fruit guidelines (33% and 40%, respectively), with the median serves for these age groups being 1.4 and 1.7 respectively compared with 1.2 for the 19-50 years age group.

Likewise, females aged 19-50 years were the least likely to meet recommended fruit consumption, with half the population eating less than 1.1 serve per day. On the other hand, females aged 51 years and over were more likely to meet the recommendation (27%), with the median serves for these age groups being 1.4.

This graph shows the usual serves consumed per day from non-discretionary sources of fruit for males and females 19 years and older. Data is based on usual intake from 2011-12 NNPAS.
    (a) Usual intake. See Glossary for definition.
    (b) From non-discretionary sources.
    Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12.


FORM OF FRUITS CONSUMED

On average, the greatest proportion of serves consumed comprised of fresh or canned fruits contributing 63%, followed by fruit juices with 27% and the least from dried fruit with 9.8%. Although all three forms of fruits have been counted in the numbers of serves of fruit consumption, the Guidelines advise that fruit juices and dried fruits be consumed only occasionally as substitutes for fresh fruit. This is because most fruit juices lack dietary fibre and tend to be high in acidity (which can contribute to increased risk of dental caries) and the concentrated form of dried fruit makes it more energy dense.1

The percent contribution of fresh or canned fruits, fruit juices or dried fruits varied according to age. In particular, children had a greater share from fruit juice than adults (32% compared with 25%), while dried fruits made up a greater proportion of adult serves than children’s (11% compared with 4.8%). Although there was no significant difference in fresh or canned fruits consumption between children and adults, adolescents aged 14-18 years were the least likely to consume fresh or canned fruits on any given day in 2011-12 (51%). Instead, a larger proportion of their fruit consumption was made up of fruit juices compared with the rest of the population (45% compared with 27%).

Among the adult population, the form of fruits consumed differed between males and females. Females, especially those aged 51 years and over, had a higher proportion of fresh or canned fruits as part of their daily serve of fruits than males (67% compared with 60%). In contrast, males were more likely than females to consume fruit juices (28% compared with 22%).

This graph shows proportion of serves of types of fruit from non-discretionary sources by age group for Australians aged 2 years and over. Data is based on Day 1 of 24 hour dietary recall from 2011-12 NNPAS.
    (a) Based on Day 1. See Glossary for definition.
    (b) From non-discretionary sources.
    Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12.


HOW MANY PEOPLE MET THE RECOMMENDED NUMBER OF FRUIT SERVES IF FRUIT JUICES AND DRIED FRUITS WERE EXCLUDED?

Limiting the analysis to include fresh and canned fruit only shows the proportion of Australians meeting the minimum recommended number of fruit serves at 12% which was less than half as many people than when the fruit juice and dried fruit are included (31%).

Similar to the pattern observed for total fruits, the proportion of people meeting minimum recommended number of fruit serves based on fresh or canned fruit only decreased steadily with age among younger age groups, before a slight increase from the 51-70 years age group.

The greatest reliance on fruit juice and dried fruits to total ADG fruit group consumption was among adolescents aged 14-18 years, where the proportion meeting guidelines would drop from 27% to 6.7% if fruit juices and dried fruits were excluded. For adolescents almost half their serves of fruit comprised fruit juices and dried fruits. This reflects a typical fruit serve consumed by adolescents which was almost half comprised fruit juices and dried fruits.

This graph shows the proportion of Australians 2 years and over meeting the daily recommendations for fresh or canned fruit consumption from non-discretionary sources by age group. Data is based on usual intake from 2011-12 NNPAS.
    (a) Usual intake. See Glossary for definition.
    (b) From non-discretionary sources.
    Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12.


TYPES OF FRUIT

Of the fresh/canned fruit, apples contributed the highest proportion of serves (29%), followed by bananas (19%), stone fruit (11%) oranges (8.1%) and pears (6.9%).


FRUIT FROM DISCRETIONARY SOURCES

The ADG recommendation for serves of the fruit group does not include fruit from food sources flagged as discretionary, however, if they had been counted in the total consumption of the ADG fruit food group, average usual serves would have increased by 0.2 serves from 1.5 to 1.7. This would increase average total fruit consumption of children aged 2-8 years from 1.8 to 2 serves, almost twice their daily recommended number of fruit serves. However, people aged 12 years and over would still fall short of meeting their minimum recommended daily serves of fruit by at least 0.2 serves.

The most common discretionary food sources consumed containing fruit was non-alcoholic beverages (62%). These include 48% of fruit drinks (made from concentrates), 11% of cordials and 3.3% of soft drinks. Cereals and cereal products was the next greatest contributor, making up 22% of the fruit from discretionary food sources, with cake and cake mixes at 16% followed by sweet pastry products at 4.5%. Other food products such as jams, and muesli and cereal bars contributed approximately 3.8% and 3.6%, respectively.

This graph shows the mean serves consumed per day of fruit from discretionary and non-discretionary sources for Australians 2 years and over by age group. Data is based on Day 1 of 24 hour dietary recall from 2011-12 NNPAS.
    (a) Based on Day 1. See Glossary for definition.
    Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12.
ENDNOTES