4727.0.55.005 - Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Nutrition Results - Food and Nutrients, 2012-13  
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KEY FINDINGS

This publication contains nutrition data collected in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NATSINPAS). It presents results from a 24-hour dietary recall of food, beverages and dietary supplements, as well as some general information on dietary behaviours.

FOOD CONSUMPTION

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 2 years and over consumed an estimated 2.96 kilograms of foods and beverages (including water) per day, made up from a wide variety of foods across the major food groups.

Almost nine in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (87%) reported consuming Cereals and cereal products and six in ten (62%) consumed Cereal based products and dishes.

Regular bread and bread rolls was the most commonly eaten type of Cereal and cereal product, being consumed by 70% of people. Ready to eat breakfast cereals were eaten by 34% of the population.

More than eight in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (83%) consumed from the Milk products and dishes group, with foods in this group providing an average 10% of the population's energy intake. Around seven in ten (69%) of people consumed Dairy milk, while over one quarter (27%) had Cheese.

Meat, poultry and game products and dishes were consumed by three quarters (76%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, providing 16% of total energy intake. Processed meats were most commonly consumed (29%), followed by Unprocessed beef, sheep and pork (23%) and Poultry and feathered game (17%).

    Over two fifths (41%) of total daily energy reported as consumed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was from discretionary foods, that is, foods considered to be of little nutritional value and which tend to be high in saturated fats, sugars, salt and/or alcohol.

    Vegetable products and dishes were consumed by almost two thirds (65%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with Potatoes alone being consumed by over one third (36%). Based on people's self-reported usual consumption of vegetables, just 8% of the population met the recommended usual intake of vegetables.

    Fruit products and dishes were consumed by almost half (46%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Based on self-reported usual serves of fruit eaten per day, over half of those who consumed fruit (54%) met the recommendations for usual serves.

    Almost two in five (37%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people consumed Soft drinks, and flavoured mineral water.

      Was there a difference by remoteness?

      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote areas were more likely than those in non-remote areas to have consumed Meat, poultry and game products and dishes (81% compared with 74%), and derived a greater proportion of their energy intake from foods in this group (23% compared with 15%).

      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in non-remote areas obtained a greater proportion of energy from discretionary foods compared to the population in remote areas (42% and 35% respectively).

      A lower proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in remote areas compared with adults in non-remote areas reported consuming Alcoholic beverages (14% compared with 20%).

      How did Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compare with non-Indigenous people?

      A smaller proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous people consumed food from the Vegetable products and dishes group (65% compared with 75%). Based on people’s self-reported usual consumption of vegetables, a lower proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged 19 years and over met the recommendations compared with non-Indigenous adults (4.4% compared with 6.8%).

      The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who consumed Fruit products and dishes was lower than the proportion in the non-Indigenous population (46% compared with 60%).

      The proportion of total daily energy from discretionary foods was higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous people (41% compared with 35%).

      Overall, a lower proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults (aged 19 years and over) than non-Indigenous adults consumed an Alcoholic beverage (19% compared with 32%). However, the median amount of Alcoholic beverages consumed was more than twice as high among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers (equivalent to 3 bottles of beer or 1.5 bottles of wine) than non-Indigenous consumers (equivalent to 1.2 bottles of beer or almost 5 glasses of wine).

      Twice as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous people consumed cordial (15% compared with 7%).

      A higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous people consumed Soft drinks, and flavoured mineral water (37% compared with 29%). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2-3 years were three times as likely as non-Indigenous children aged 2-3 years to have consumed Soft drinks, and flavoured mineral waters (18% compared with 5.8%).

      ENERGY AND NUTRIENTS

      The average energy intake was 9,175 kilojoules (kJ) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and 7,261 kJ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females. Energy intakes were lowest among the toddler aged children (2-3 years), who averaged 6,169 kJ.

      Carbohydrate contributed the largest proportion of total energy, supplying 46% on average with the balance of energy coming from fat (31%), protein (18%), alcohol (2.0%) and dietary fibre (1.8%).

      The average daily intake of sodium from food was just over 2,379 mg (equivalent to around one teaspoon of table salt). This amount includes sodium naturally present in foods as well as sodium added during processing, but excludes the 'discretionary salt' added by consumers in home prepared foods or 'at the table'.

      Was there a difference by remoteness?

      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote areas derived a greater proportion of energy from protein compared with those living in non-remote areas (20% compared with 18% respectively). This aligns with higher consumption of Meat, poultry and game products by people in remote areas.

      How did Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compare with non-Indigenous people?

      Within carbohydrates, starch contributed 24% and sugars contributed 21% of energy. The highest contributor for total sugars was Soft drinks, and flavoured mineral waters – this combined with Cordials totalled 24% for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared with 12% for non-Indigenous people.

      The contribution of Fat to average dietary energy intake is similar for both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and non-Indigenous population; however, saturated fat is higher for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

      DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS

      One in eight (12%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported taking at least one dietary supplement. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in non-remote areas were three times more likely to take supplements than those in remote areas (14% and 4.3% respectively). A smaller proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous people consumed supplements (12% compared with 29%).

      DIETING

      About 12% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over reported that they were on a diet to lose weight or for some other health reason. This was similar to the proportion of non-Indigenous people aged 15 years and over on a diet (13%). Both populations had more people on a diet to lose weight than for other health reasons.

      FOOD SECURITY

      More than one in five (22%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were living in a household where someone went without food when the household ran out of food compared with less than one in twenty (3.7%) in the non-Indigenous population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote areas were more likely than those in non-remote areas to be living in a household that had run out of food and couldn’t afford to buy more (31% compared with 20%).

      UNDER-REPORTING

      In order to assist in the interpretation of data from the 2012-13 NATSINPAS, particularly in comparisons with the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS), there are a few key points that should be noted.

      It is likely that under-reporting is present in both surveys.
      There appears to be more under-reporting in the NATSINPAS than in the NNPAS.
      The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were classed as Low Energy Reports (LERs) increased with Body Mass Index (BMI) for both males and females, with females more likely to be LERs than males.
      The level of under-reporting appears to increase with BMI.

      Care should be taken when interpreting results in this publication. Like in other nutrition surveys, there has been some under-reporting of food intake by participants in this survey. Given the association of under-reporting with overweight/obesity and consciousness of socially acceptable/desirable dietary patterns, under-reporting is unlikely to affect all foods and nutrients equally. As a result, no adjustment to the estimates has been applied and the results within this publication will be affected by under-reporting to differing degrees.
      See Appendix 1 for an overview of the major food groups and the Glossary for other definitions.