4727.0.55.006 - Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Updated Results, 2012–13  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/06/2014  First Issue
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DAILY INTAKE OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

Poor nutrition is a significant risk factor for selected cancers, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Poor nutrition (usually excess fats and sugar without comparable energy use) can also contribute to high body mass, which in turn is an independent risk factor for these same health conditions. Malnutrition may also be an outcome where poor nutrition or where the low volume of foods are problematic. The 2003 Australian Burden of Disease Study estimated that low fruit and vegetable intake accounts for around 4% of the total burden of disease and injury for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Endnote 1).

Data source and definitions


Usual daily intake of fruit and vegetables in the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey is based on self-reported number of serves of fruit and vegetables eaten daily.

A serve of vegetables was defined as half a cup of cooked vegetables, one medium potato or one cup of salad vegetables (approximately 75 grams). Tomatoes were included as a vegetable rather than a fruit, and legumes were excluded.

A serve of fruit was defined as one medium piece or two small pieces of fresh fruit, one cup of diced fruit, one-quarter of a cup of sultanas, or four dried apricot halves (approximately 150 grams of fresh fruit or 50 grams of dried fruit). Fruit juices were not considered to be fruit.

The National Health and Medical Research Council released new guidelines on daily fruit and vegetable intake in 2013 (NHMRC Guidelines). The data presented below reflect, as closely as possible, these guidelines.

Adequate daily fruit intake has been defined as:

  • one or more serves per day for children aged 2–8 years;
  • two or more serves per day for children aged 9–17 years; and persons aged 18 years and over.

Adequate daily vegetable intake has been defined as:
  • two or more serves per day for children aged 2–3 years;
  • four or more serves per day for children aged 4–8 years;
  • five or more serves per day for children aged 15–17 years, females aged 18 years and over, and males aged 50 years and over; and
  • six serves or more per day for males aged 18–49 years.
UPDATED RESULTS FROM 2012–13

DAILY FRUIT INTAKE


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–14 years

In 2012–13, more than three-quarters (78%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–14 years were eating an adequate amount of fruit each day. Most (93%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–4 years were eating enough fruit each day, with rates falling to 89% of 5–9 year olds and 58% of 10–14 year olds. The differences between the rates for each of the age groups were statistically significant.

A higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls than boys aged 2–14 years were meeting the guidelines for daily fruit intake (81% compared with 76%), however the difference between rates for girls and boys was only significant for 10–14 year olds (63% compared with 54%).

ADEQUATE DAILY FRUIT INTAKE BY SEX AND AGE, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children—2012–13
Graph: Adequate Daily Fruit Intake by Sex and Age

In 2012–13, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys aged 2–14 years were more likely than girls to have been eating less than one serve of fruit per day (11% compared with 7%), and were less likely to have been eating two serves of fruit per day (32% compared with 38%).

DAILY SERVES OF FRUIT BY SEX, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children(a)—2012–13
Graph: Daily Serves of Fruit by Sex

In 2012–13, similar proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–14 years in non-remote and remote areas were eating an adequate amount of fruit each day (78% and 79%, respectively). This was true for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys (76% and 77%, respectively) and girls (both 81%).


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over

In 2012–13, two in five (42%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were eating an adequate amount of fruit each day. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females were more likely than males to be meeting the guidelines for daily fruit intake (44% compared with 40%), however the difference between rates for females and males was only significant for 45–54 year olds (44% compared with 35%) and people aged 55 years and over (56% compared with 42%).

ADEQUATE DAILY FRUIT INTAKE BY AGE BY SEX, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people— 2012–13
Graph: Adequate Daily Fruit Intake by Age by Sex

Reflecting a general trend of higher fruit intake among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females than males, a larger proportion of females reported eating two serves of fruit per day (27% compared with 24%) and a smaller proportion, less than one serve of fruit each day (25% compared with 32%).

DAILY SERVES OF FRUIT BY SEX, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people(a)—2012–13
Graph: Daily Serves of Fruit by Sex

In 2012–13, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over who were meeting the guidelines for daily fruit intake was higher in remote areas (46%) than in non-remote areas (41%). While rates for daily fruit intake were higher for both males and females in remote areas, only the difference between the male rates was statistically significant (46% in remote areas compared with 38% in non-remote areas).


DAILY VEGETABLE INTAKE

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–14 years

In 2012–13, around one in six (16%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–14 years were eating an adequate amount of vegetables each day. Around two in five (39%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–4 years were meeting the guidelines for daily vegetable intake, with rates falling to 11% of 5–9 year olds and 6% of 10–14 year olds.

Similar proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys and girls aged 2–14 years were meeting the guidelines for daily vegetable intake (14% and 17%, respectively), however only the difference between rates for boys and girls aged 2–4 years was statistically significant (33% compared with 45%).

ADEQUATE DAILY VEGETABLE INTAKE BY AGE BY SEX, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children—2012–13
Graph: Adequate Daily Vegetable Intake by Age by Sex

In 2012–13, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys aged 2–14 years were more likely than girls to have been eating less than one serve of vegetables per day (11% compared with 8%).

DAILY SERVES OF VEGETABLES BY SEX, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children(a)—2012–13
Graph: Daily Serves of Vegetables by Sex


In 2012–13, similar proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–14 years in non-remote and remote areas were eating an adequate amount of vegetables each day (16% and 14% respectively). While the proportion was the same for boys in non-remote and remote areas (both 14%), the rate for girls was higher in non-remote areas than in remote areas (18% compared with 14%).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over

In 2012–13, one in twenty (5%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were eating an adequate amount of vegetables each day. The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people meeting the guidelines for daily vegetable intake ranged from 3% of 18–24 year olds to 9% of those aged 55 years and over.

ADEQUATE DAILY VEGETABLE INTAKE, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—2012–13
Graph: Adequate Daily Vegetable Intake

In 2012–13, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females aged 15 years and over were more likely than males to be meeting the guidelines for daily vegetable intake (7% compared with 3%). A significantly higher proportion of females than males were eating two serves of vegetables each day (29% compared with 25%) and a smaller proportion were eating four serves per day (9% compared with 11%).

DAILY SERVES OF VEGETABLES BY SEX, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people(a)—2012–13
Graph: Daily Serves of Vegetables by Sex


CHANGE OVER TIME

Information on daily serves of fruit and vegetables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was not collected at the national level in the 2004–05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey. These data are only available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in non-remote areas.

HOW DO THESE RATES COMPARE WITH THE RATES FOR NON-INDIGENOUS PEOPLE?

After adjusting for differences in the age structure of the two populations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were significantly less likely than non-Indigenous people to be meeting the guidelines for daily fruit intake (rate ratio of 0.9) and daily vegetable intake (rate ratio of 0.8).


ENDNOTES
1. Vos T, Barker B, Stanley L, Lopez AD 2007. The Burden of Disease and Injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2003, School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane.