4802.0 - National Nutrition Survey: Selected Highlights, Australia, 1995  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/12/1997  Ceased
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December 22, 1997
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

How we fare in nutritional stakes - ABS survey

Australian men consume a higher quantity of food and beverages, have a higher daily energy intake and are more likely to be overweight than women, according to a report released jointly today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services.

The report presents selected data from a National Nutrition Survey, a project funded by the ABS and Commonwealth and State Health agencies. It provides the first comprehensive picture of food and beverages consumed, nutrient intake, eating habits, dietary attitudes and height and weight measurements for all Australians aged 2 years or more.

Some highlights include:
  • Men were more likely than women to be overweight or obese. The proportion who were overweight or obese increased with age and peaked at 50-54 years for men and 60-64 years for women. Overall, 45 per cent of men and 29 per cent of women were considered to be overweight with a further 18 per cent of both men and women being classified as obese. For people aged 45 and over, only about 25 per cent of men and 35 per cent of women were within an acceptable weight range for their height.
  • During the day prior to the interview more than 90 per cent of Australians reported consuming cereals and dairy products, while more than 80 per cent reported eating vegetables or vegetable products. However, over half the males aged 12-44 years and approximately a third of children aged 4-11 years had not eaten fruit or fruit products.
  • Australians obtain between 45 per cent and 50 per cent of their daily energy intake from carbohydrates, fat contributed between 32 per cent and 34 per cent, while protein contributed between 14 per cent and 17 per cent of energy intake. Average daily energy intake increased sharply to a peak of 13,530 kilojoules for adolescent boys and 7,480 kilojoules for girls aged 16-18 years and then declined with age.
  • When asked about desired changes to the types of foods consumed, approximately 30 per cent of adults considered they should be eating more fruit and vegetables and about 25 per cent of adults thought they should be eating less foods high in fat.
  • Women were more likely to report being on a special diet than men (42 per cent compared to 29 per cent). The proportion of people on a fat modified diet increased with age, with 26 per cent of women and 23 per cent of men aged 65 years or more reporting this type of diet.

Details are in National Nutrition Survey: Selected Highlights, Australia 1995 (cat. no. 4802.0), available from ABS bookshops.