Diet and weight (children)
Healthy practices established early in life, such as a balanced diet with sufficient fruit and vegetables and limited intake of sugar sweetened and diet drinks, may continue into adolescence and adulthood, reducing a person's risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Being overweight or obese in childhood may increase a person's risk of developing such health conditions later in life.
Fruit and vegetable consumption
Fruit and vegetable consumption is assessed using the National Health and Medical Research Council’s 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines .
Almost seven in 10 (69%) children aged 2–14 years met the guidelines for the recommended number of serves of fruit each day.
Seven per cent of children met the guidelines for the recommended number of serves of vegetables per day.
Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption
More than six in 10 (63%) children aged 2–14 years usually consumed sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once a week.
The proportion of children who usually consumed sugar sweetened drinks (59%) at least once a week was more than six times higher than those who usually consumed diet drinks (9%) at least once a week. Two in 10 (20%) children usually consumed sugar sweetened drinks daily, and 2% consumed diet drinks daily.
Body Mass Index is an index of weight-for-height, used to classify people as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.
Based on measured height and weight:
- more than half (54%) of children aged 2–14 years were in the normal weight range
- around one-quarter (24%) of children were overweight and more than one in 10 (13%) were obese
- around one in 10 (9%) children were underweight.
The proportion of children who were overweight or obese increased from 30% in 2012–13  to 37% in 2018–19.
Body Mass Index category(a), 2012–13 and 2018–19 — children aged 2–14 years
(a) Based on measured height and weight. (b) The difference between 2012–13 and 2018–19 for underweight and obese is not statistically significant.
Source(s): 2012–13 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey and 2018–19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey
There were no significant differences in the proportion of boys and girls who were:
- normal weight (55% compared with 53%)
- overweight (22% compared with 27%) or obese (12% compared with 13%), or
- underweight (10% compared with 7%).
1. See Assessing health risk factors (appendix)
for more information about how fruit and vegetable consumption was assessed using these guidelines.
2. Sourced from Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Updated Results, Australia, 2012–13
(cat. no. 4727.0.55.006).