4814.0.55.001 - Occasional Paper: Measuring Dietary Habits in the 2001 National Health Survey, Australia, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/06/2003   
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Good nutrition can enhance quality of life and contribute to better health outcomes. This has been recognised by both the Commonwealth and State governments who have all identified the need to monitor and assess Nutrition. Recent government policies such as Eat Well Australia and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating provide a strong mandate for the collection of information on Nutrition. In 1995, the Australian Bureau of Statistics in conjunction with the then Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services conducted the National Nutrition Survey (NNS). Information from the 24 hour dietary recall, Food Frequency Questionnaire and the questions on eating habits and patterns have provided national benchmark information on the nutrition of the Australian population. Subsequent to the National Nutrition Survey, the priority is to measure food habits that are indicative of diet quality such as usual fruit and vegetable intake, using short dietary questions.

The primary focus will be changes in the methodology for the short dietary questions in the move from a self-enumeration form in 1995 NNS to a personal interview in the 2001 National Health Survey; and the development of new questions on deliberate intake of folate fortified foods and beverages. Results from the short dietary questions in both surveys will be examined with discussion of the impact of the methodological and contextual changes. Issues of data quality and interpretation will also be discussed.