Less Australians drinking sweetened drinks


Less Australians are drinking sweetened drinks according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

New results from the Australian Health Survey and the 1995 results, show that the proportion of people consuming sweetened drinks decreased from just under half (49 per cent) in 1995 to 42 per cent in 2011-12.

This decrease was driven by a drop in the proportion of consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages from 43 per cent in 1995 to 34 per cent in 2011-12, while over the same time period, the proportion of people consuming artificially sweetened (intense-sweetened) beverages increased from eight per cent to ten per cent.

Among sweetened beverage consumers, the amount consumed varies widely. While the median amount of sweetened beverages consumed on the day prior to interview was around the size of a typical can (375 mLs), the top ten per cent highest consumers of sweetened beverages consumed more than one litre on the day, peaking at 1.5 L for males aged 19-30 years.

"Among consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages, the average intake of sugar from these beverages was equivalent to 13 teaspoons, or 54 grams," said Louise Gates, Director of Health from the ABS. "The average intake for males aged 14-18 years who consumed sugar-sweetened beverages was 16 teaspoons, or 68 grams."

Proportion of consumers and amount consumed varied within the population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more likely to consume sweetened beverages than non-Indigenous people (56 per cent compared with 42 per cent). Their median intake was also higher at 455 mLs or one and a half cans of sweetened beverages.

The 2011–13 Australian Health Survey (AHS) is the largest and most comprehensive health survey ever conducted in Australia. The survey, conducted throughout Australia, collected a range of information about health-related issues, including health status, risk factors, health service usage and medications. In 2011–13, the AHS incorporated the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS). It involved the collection of detailed physical activity information using self-reported and pedometer collection methods, along with detailed information on dietary intake and foods consumed from over 12,000 participants across Australia. The nutrition component is the first national nutrition survey of adults and children (aged 2 years and over) conducted in over 15 years.

For further information see Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Foods and Nutrients, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.007), available for free download from the ABS website, www.abs.gov.au.

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