4727.0.55.009 - Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Consumption of Added Sugars, 2012-13  
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MEDIA RELEASE
2 November 2016
Embargo: 11:30 am (Canberra Time)

Indigenous Australians consuming too much added sugar
117/2016

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people consume around 14 per cent of their total energy intake as free sugars, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that free sugars contribute less than 10 per cent of total energy intake.

Director of Health, Louise Gates, said the new ABS report showed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are consuming an average of 18 teaspoons (or 75 grams) of free sugars per day (almost two cans of soft drink), four teaspoons more than non-Indigenous people (14 teaspoons or 60 grams).

"Free sugars include the sugars added by consumers in preparing foods and beverages plus the added sugars in manufactured foods, as well as honey and the sugar naturally present in fruit juice," said Ms Gates.

"The data shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in urban areas derived more energy from free sugars than those living in remote areas (14 per cent compared with 13 per cent)."

Free sugars contributed 18 per cent to dietary energy intake for teenage boys aged 14-18 years, who consumed 25 teaspoons (106 grams) of free sugars per day. This amount is equivalent to more than two and a half cans of soft drink.

Women aged 19-30 years consumed 21 teaspoons (87 grams) of free sugars, which contributed 17 per cent to their total energy intake.

“Beverages were the source of two thirds of free sugars, with soft drinks, sports and energy drinks providing 28 per cent, followed by fruit and vegetable juices with 12 per cent, cordials (9.5 per cent), sugars added to beverages such as tea and coffee (9.4 per cent), alcoholic beverages (4.9 per cent) and milk drinks (3.4 per cent),” said Ms Gates.

More details are available in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Consumption of Added Sugars (cat. no. 4727.0.55.009), available for free download from the ABS website, https://www.abs.gov.au.

Media notes:

  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
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