4364.0.55.012 - Australian Health Survey: Consumption of Food Groups from the Australian Dietary Guidelines, 2011-12  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/05/2016  First Issue
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WATER

Water is fundamental to life and consuming an adequate amount of water each day is essential for good health. Water is required in a range of physiological functions including digestion, absorption and transportation of nutrients, elimination of waste and regulation of body temperature.1

Water can be derived from plain water, beverages (e.g. tea, coffees or alcoholic drinks etc.) and as moisture from food sources. But drinking plain water is the most effective way to stay hydrated without undesirable energy, stimulant or diuretic effects.

Because the amount of water required varies depending on individual factors including body size, diet, climate and levels of physical activity1 the Australian Dietary Guidelines do not provide target amounts for consumption, but make the general recommendation that Australians “drink plenty of water”.

Definitions

Plain watertap and unflavoured bottled water
Water from non-discretionary beveragesthe water component of non-discretionary beverages, for instance water added to tea and coffee
Remaining beverageseverything else that makes up the difference between the above two categories and total beverages. This includes discretionary beverages (including alcohol), soft drinks, milk and milk beverages, fruit juice as well as the non-water components of non-discretionary beverages. Excludes water.
Total beveragesall beverages consumed, both water and non-water components



HOW MUCH PLAIN WATER WAS CONSUMED?

In 2011-12, the average amount of plain water, either tap or bottled, usually consumed by Australians was 1,064 ml. The average amount of consumption steadily increased with age, peaking at 1,264 ml among those aged 19-50 years, before a gradual decline in older age groups. Children aged 2-18 years, on average, consumed less plain water than adults aged 19 years and over (892 ml compared with 1,114 ml).

Overall, there was no difference in average plain water consumption between males and females. However, males aged 19-50 years had the highest average plain water consumption of 1,335 ml.

This graph shows the mean grams consumed per day of plain water 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.
(b) Includes tap and unflavoured bottled water.
Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12.

On average, Australians consumed an additional 325 ml of water derived from non-discretionary beverages (mainly tea and coffee). This brought the average amount of plain water and water from non-discretionary beverages consumed to a total of 1,389 ml per day. The water from non-discretionary beverages provided a considerable source of water for adults, especially those aged 51 years and over reflecting a high level of consumption of tea and coffee.


WHAT WAS THE USUAL CONSUMPTION OF PLAIN WATER?

The amount of plain water usually consumed varied within, as well as between, age-sex groups. Overall, the bottom 10% of consumers aged 2 years and over consumed 304 ml or less of plain water on a usual basis, while the top 10% consumed at least 1,917 ml.

This graph shows the usual intake of plain water (selected percentiles) for males aged 2 years and over. Data is based on usual intake from the 2011-12 NNPAS.This graph shows the usual intake of plain water (selected percentiles) for females aged 2 years and over. Data is based on usual intake from the 2011-12 NNPAS.

(a) Usual intake. See Glossary for definition.
(b) Includes tap and unflavoured bottled water.
Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12.


PLAIN WATER AS A PROPORTION OF TOTAL BEVERAGE CONSUMPTION

On any given day in 2011-12, plain water contributed to half (50%) of Australians’ total beverage consumption, with 21% from discretionary beverages (mainly soft drinks, alcohol and cordial) and 15% from water within non-discretionary beverages (mainly tea and coffee). The balance (13%) was made up of non-water based non-discretionary beverages such as juice and milk drinks.

The proportion of plain water from total beverages was significantly higher among children than adults (59% compared with 48%). The proportion of beverages that was plain water tended to decrease in age groups from 12-13 years and older, although the substitution was generally with tea and coffee rather than other beverages (either discretionary or not).

This graph shows the proportion of plain water, water from non-discretionary beverages and remaining beverages consumed per day for Australians aged 2 years and over. Data is based on Day 1 for 24 hour dietary recall from 2011-12 NNPAS.
(a) Based on Day 1. See Glossary for definition.
(b) Includes all discretionary non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic beverages, fruit juice, milk and milk substitutes.
(c) Includes the water component of non-discretionary beverages sucg as tea and coffee.
(d) Includes tap and unflavoured bottled water.
Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12.
ENDNOTES
1. National Health and Medical Research Council, 2013, Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: Australian Government. <https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/n55_australian_dietary_guidelines_130530.pdf >, Last accessed 05/05/2016