4363.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/05/2014   
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Contents >> Nutrition >> Nutrient Intake


Nutrient intakes are derived from the food, beverage and supplement intakes reported in the 24-hour dietary recall. Nutrients are reported to enable:

  • comparison against recommendations in the Nutrient Reference Values, the Australian Dietary Guidelines (e.g. if you choose to drink alcohol, limit intake)
  • monitoring of the mandatory addition of nutrients to food in Australia under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code
  • comparison to previous surveys (where feasible)

To promote meaningful comparisons with guidelines, dietary intakes of nutrients are reported where food is the major source, and information of sufficient quality is available on amounts of the nutrient in foods. For example, Vitamin D intakes from food have not been reported as food is not the most important source of this nutrient, and due to concerns about currently available analytical methods for measuring the amount of vitamin D in foods (see http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoringnutrients/nutrientables/pages/default.aspx).

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) developed a customised nutrient composition database for the following 44 nutrients (AUSNUT 2011-2013).


Energy (with dietary fibre)kJ X
Energy (without dietary fibre)kJ X

Moisture (water)g X
Total fatgXX
Available carbohydrate (with sugar alcohols)gX
Available carbohydrate (without sugar alcohols)gX
Total sugarsgX
Dietary fibregXX

Preformed vitamin A (retinol)gXX
Pro-vitamin A (b-carotene equivalents)gXX
Vitamin A retinol equivalentsgXX
Thiamin (B1)mgXX
Riboflavin (B2)mg XX
Niacin (B3)mg XX
Niacin derived equivalentsmg XX
Folate, naturalg X
Folic acidg XX
Total folatesg X
Dietary folate equivalentsg XX
Vitamin B6mg XX
Vitamin B12g XX
Vitamin Cmg XX
Vitamin Emg XX

Calciummg XX
Magnesiummg XX
Phosphorusmg XX
Potassiummg XX


Fatty Acids
Total saturated fatgXX
Total monounsaturated fatgXX
Total polyunsaturated fatgXX
Linoleic acidgXX
Alpha-linolenic acidgXX
Total long chain omega 3 fatty acidsmgXX
Total trans fatty acidsmgXX

* Includes sodium naturally present in foods as well sodium added during processing, but excludes the 'discretionary salt' added by consumers in home prepared foods or 'at the table'. See Interpretation section of Nutrient Intake within User Guide.

The following items were derived:
  • amount of each nutrient consumed per instance of food or beverage
  • amount of each nutrient consumed per supplement consumed (as listed above as relevant for supplements). Energy from supplements is not reported, as supplements do not generally contribute meaningful amounts of energy when considering overall energy intakes
  • amount of each nutrient consumed per person over the 24-hour reporting period (for 2 days where available) from foods and beverages, supplements (where relevant) and total
  • percentage contribution to total energy per person for protein, total fat, saturated and trans fats, trans fats, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, carbohydrates with sugar alcohols, total sugars, starch, alcohol and fibre. The energy from each of these nutrients was estimated by multiplying each gram of particular nutrient by a conversion factor to determine the kilojoules of energy. The conversion factors are set out below.

    NutrientkJ per gram

    Total fat37
    Saturated fat and trans fat37
    Monounsaturated fat37
    Polyunsaturated fat37
    Trans fat37
    Linoleic acid37
    Alpha-linolenic acid37
    Carbohydrates (CHO) with sugar alcohols(Sugar*16)+(Starch*17)+(Sugar alcohol *16)+ (Other available CHO*17)
    Total sugars16

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy needed for a minimal set of functions necessary for life over a defined period of time. BMR is given in kilojoules (kJ) per 24 hours and calculated using age, sex and weight (kg) as variables with no adjustment for activity levels. The formulae are set out below1.

Age groupSexBMR formula

Under 3 Male249 * weight - 127
Female244 *weight - 130
3 to 9Male95 * weight + 2110
Female85 * weight + 2033
10 to 18Male74 * weight + 2754
Female56 * weight + 2898
19 to 30Male63 * weight + 2896
Female62 * weight + 2036
31 to 60Male48 * weight + 3653
Female34 * weight + 3538
Over 60Male49 * weight + 2459
Female38 * weight + 2755

EI:BMR or Energy intake to basal metabolic rate ratio (total energy intake over BMR) is given for day one and day two. This ratio provides an estimate of the level of physical activity, and is used for determining proportions of implausibly low intakes. For more information on the use of this ratio see Under-reporting in Nutrition Surveys.

Data Items

The data items and related output categories for the Nutrition topic including detail of Foods and Supplements consumed are available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.


A number of points should be considered when interpreting data for this topic.

  • Nutrient intake, by means of the 24-hour dietary recall, is as reported by respondents. Recall error such as under-reporting or deliberate misreporting can occur (see Under-reporting in Nutrition Surveys).
  • Total energy will be greater than the sum of the components (Protein, Total fat, Total Carbohydrate, Dietary fibre and Alcohol). This is because Total energy accounts for the small amount of energy from organic acids.
  • The components of Total fat, Carbohydrate, and Polyunsaturated fat do not sum to the respective totals. In the case of Total fat, this is because Total fat includes the other forms of fat such as non-fatty acid components of triglycerides, phospholipids, sterols and waxes, while the fatty acid components do not. In the case of Total carbohydrate, it is because of the inclusion of sugar alcohols and other available carbohydrates in addition to Total sugars and Total starch. In the case of Polyunsaturated fat, this is because Polyunsaturated fat includes polyunsaturated fatty acids not included in the values for linoleic acid, alpha- linolenic acid, and total long chain omega 3 fatty acids.
  • The nutrient database contains nutrient values (including sodium and iodine) for each unique food reported in the survey. Although the nutrient database reasonably reflects levels of sodium and iodine in food ‘as sold’ for processed foods and takeaway foods, it does not assume any amounts of added salt in home prepared foods, such as mixed savoury dishes from basic ingredients, vegetables, meat or fish. Although the actual specific instances and amounts of salt added during cooking or at the table were not captured in the 2011-12 NNPAS, the survey did ask each respondent more general questions about the frequency of salt use in food preparation and at the table, and whether the salt usually used was iodised. Without some adjustment, the estimation of dietary sodium and iodine intakes from the 2011-12 NNPAS will somewhat underestimate total dietary sodium and iodine intakes.

1 Schofield, WN, 1985, ‘Predicting basal metabolic rate, new standards and review of previous work’, Human Nutrition: Clinical Nutrition, vol 39c, no. suppl 1, pp. 5-41, Available from <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4044297>. Back

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