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Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Foods and Nutrients

Provides a snapshot of food and nutrient consumption. Analysis and datacubes include average consumption and proportion derived from each food group

Reference period
2011-12
Released
9/05/2014
Next release Unknown
First release

Key findings

Food consumption

In 2011-12, Australians aged 2 years and over consumed an estimated 3.1 kilograms of foods and beverages (including water) per day, made up from a wide variety of foods across the major food groups.

  • On the day before interview, almost all people (97%) reported consuming foods from the Cereals and cereal products or Cereal-based products and dishes groups. Regular bread and bread rolls was the most commonly eaten type of Cereal and cereal product, being consumed by 66% of people. Ready to eat breakfast cereals were eaten by 36% of the population.
  • More than eight out of ten people (85%) consumed from the Milk products and dishes group on the day prior to interview, with foods in this group providing an average 11% of the population's energy intake. Around two-thirds (68%) of people consumed Dairy milk, while almost one-third (32%) had Cheese.
  • Meat, poultry and game products and dishes were consumed by around seven out of ten (69%) people on the day prior to interview, providing 14% of total energy intakes. Chicken was the most commonly consumed meat within this category with 31% either eating a piece of chicken or eating chicken as part of mixed dish. Beef was consumed by 20% (either alone or in a mixed dish). Ham was the most commonly consumed processed meat, being consumed by 12% of the population.
  • Vegetable products and dishes were consumed by three-quarters (75%) of the population, with Potatoes making up around one-quarter (by weight) of all vegetables consumed. Based on people's self-reported usual consumption of vegetables, just 6.8% of the population met the recommended usual intake of vegetables.
  • Fruit products and dishes were consumed by six out of ten people (60%) overall on the day before interview. Based on self-reported usual serves of fruit eaten per day, just over half (54%) met the recommendations for usual serves of fruit.
  • The most popular beverages consumed were water (consumed by 87% of the population), coffee (46%), tea (38%) soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters (29%) and Alcoholic beverages (25%).
  • Just over one-third (35%) of total energy consumed was from 'discretionary foods', that is foods considered to be of little nutritional value and which tend to be high in saturated fats, sugars, salt and/or alcohol. The proportion of energy from discretionary foods was highest among the 14-18 year olds (41%). The particular food groups contributing most of the energy from discretionary foods were: Alcoholic beverages (4.8% of energy), Cakes, muffins scones and cake-type desserts (3.4%), Confectionery and cereal/nut/fruit/seed bars (2.8%), Pastries (2.6%), Sweet biscuits and Savoury biscuits (2.5%) and Soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters (1.9%).
     

Energy and nutrients

The average energy intake was 9,655 kilojoules (kJ) for males and 7,402 kJ for females. Energy intakes were lowest among the toddler aged children who averaged 5,951 kJ and were highest among 19-30 year old males (11,004 kJ). Female energy intakes were highest among the 14-18 year olds (8,114 kJ).

  • Carbohydrate contributed the largest proportion of total energy, supplying 45% on average with the balance of energy coming from fat (31%), protein (18%), alcohol (3.4%) and dietary fibre (2.2%).
  • Within carbohydrates, starch contributed 24% and sugars contributed 20% of energy. The major source of total sugars (natural and added) in the diets were: Fruit (providing 16% of sugars), Soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters (9.7%), Dairy milk (8.1%), Fruit and vegetable juices and drinks (7.5%), Sugar, honey and syrups (6.5%), Cakes, muffins, scones, cake-type desserts (5.8%).
  • The average daily intake of sodium from food was just over 2,404 mg (equivalent to around one teaspoon of table salt). This amount includes sodium naturally present in foods as well as sodium added during processing, but excludes the 'discretionary salt' added by consumers in home prepared foods or 'at the table'. In addition to sodium from food, 64% of Australians reported that they add salt very often or occasionally either during meal preparation or at the table, therefore the true average intake is likely to be significantly higher.
     

Dietary supplements

In 2011-12, 29% of Australians reported taking at least one dietary supplement on the day prior to interview. Females were more likely than males to have had a dietary supplement (33% and 24% respectively), with the highest proportion of consumers in the older age groups. Multivitamin and/or multimineral supplements were the most commonly taken dietary supplements, being consumed by around 16% of the population with Fish oil supplements taken by around 12% of the population.

Dieting

In 2011-12, over 2.3 million Australians (13%) aged 15 years and over reported that they were on a diet to lose weight or for some other health reason. This included 15% of females and 11% of males. Being on a diet was most prevalent among 51-70 year olds where 19% of females and 15% of males were on some kind of diet.

Food avoidance

In 2011-12, 17% of Australians aged 2 years or over (or 3.7 million people) reported avoiding a food type due to allergy or intolerance and 7% (1.6 million) avoided particular foods for cultural, religious or ethical reasons.

  • The most common type of food intolerance reported was Cow's milk/Dairy (4.5%), followed by Gluten (2.5%), Shellfish (2.0%) and Peanuts (1.4%).
  • Pork was the most commonly avoided food type (3.9%) for cultural, religious or ethical reasons, while 2.1% specified avoiding all meat.


See Appendix 1 for an overview of the major food groups and the Glossary for other definitions.

Foods consumed

Food groups

Food and beverages reported by respondents in the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) were collected and coded at a detailed level, but for output purposes are categorised within a food classification with major, sub-major, and minor group levels. At the broadest level (the Major group) there are 24 groups. These groups were designed to categorise foods that share a major component or common feature. Because many foods are in fact mixtures of different ingredients, the food groups will not exclusively contain the main food of that group. For example, a beef and vegetable casserole will belong within the major group of Meat, poultry and game products and dishes, yet will contain vegetables and sauce or gravy.

Cereal-based products and dishes is a particular example of a Major group where there may be a significant proportion of other (non-cereal) ingredients in the foods. While the common feature of this food group is cereal, the foods belonging to this group are very diverse and includes biscuits, cakes, pastries, mixed pasta or rice dishes, burgers, pizza and tacos. The Cereal-based products and dishes should not be confused with Cereal and cereal products which contains more basic foods such as bread, plain rice, plain pasta, breakfast cereals, oats and other grains.

For more information see Appendix 1: Example foods in Major food groups and the Nutrition section of the AHS Users' Guide.

In 2011-12, Australians aged 2 years and over consumed an estimated average of 3.1 kilograms of foods and beverages per day, made up from a wide variety of foods across the major food groups. In the day before interview, a majority of respondents in the AHS reported consuming Cereals and cereal products (90%), Milk products and dishes (85%), Vegetable products and dishes (75%), Cereal-based products and dishes (72%), Meat, poultry and game products and dishes (69%) and Fruit products and dishes (60%). In addition, 87% of people reported drinking plain water (including municipal and bottled water) see Table 4.1.

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  1. Most commonly consumed major food groups on the day prior to interview. See Appendix 1 for examples of foods in major food groups.


Statistics presented in this publication on foods consumed include:

  • the proportion of a population consuming food from a food group
  • the average (mean) amount consumed by a population (including non consumers)
  • the median amount consumed by a population (which excludes non consumers).
     

Non-alcoholic beverages

The Non-alcoholic beverages food group includes tea, coffee, juices, cordials, soft drinks, energy drinks and water.

Almost nine out of ten people reported drinking plain water, including eight out of ten who consumed domestic water (including tap, tank/rain water), and one in ten who drank packaged water including mineral water see Table 4.3. The median amount of drinking water drunk by water consumers was one litre (1,000 grams) per day see Table 6.3.

Coffee and tea

Coffee (including coffee substitutes) was consumed by nearly half the population (46%), while tea was consumed by 38% of people. However, consumption of each beverage type was closely associated with age. For example, coffee was consumed by around one in twenty (4.5%) children aged 2 to 18 years, one in three (34%) people aged 19-30 years and two in three (66%) of the population aged 51-70 years see Table 4.1. Among those who consumed coffee, the median amount of daily consumption was 330 mls (equivalent to a large mug), while the median daily amount of tea consumed by tea drinkers was 400 mls (around two small cups) see Table 6.1. Of the 16.3 million coffees consumed on an average day in 2011-12, around two-thirds were made from instant coffee powder, with one-third from ground coffee.

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  1. On the day prior to interview.
     

Soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters

Soft drinks (including flavoured mineral waters) were consumed by 29% of the population. The level of consumption peaked among 14 to 18 year-olds, with 51% of males and 38% of females in this age group consuming a soft drink on the day prior to interview see Table 4.1. Almost one-third (32%) of all soft drink consumed was intense (artificially) sweetened, with 29% of males and 37% of the females who consumed soft drink consuming an intense-sweetened variety see Table 5.3. Among the population who did report consuming soft drink, the median daily amount consumed was the equivalent of a regular can (375 mls) see Table 6.1.

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  1. Includes flavoured mineral waters.
  2. On the day prior to interview.
     

Fruit and vegetable juices and drinks

Overall, just over one-quarter (27%) of the population consumed Fruit and vegetable juices and drinks on the day prior to interview see Table 4.1. The overwhelming majority (95%) of these beverages were made from fruit (rather than vegetable or a fruit and vegetable blend) see Table 5.3. Prevalence of consumption of Fruit and vegetable juices and drinks was highest among the 2-3 year olds with 44% having consumed juice or fruit drink on the day prior to interview. The proportion consuming these products declined with increasing age until the 51-70 years group (21%), but was slightly higher again among the 71 years and over group (25%) see Table 4.1. The median daily amount of Fruit and vegetable juices and drinks consumed was 283 mls see Table 6.1

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  1. Fruit and/or vegetable juices and drinks include 'drinks' containing 100% juice or added water, flavours and sweeteners.
  2. On the day prior to interview.

Cereals and cereal products

The Cereals and Cereal Products food group includes grains, flours, bread and bread rolls, breakfast cereals, plain pasta, noodles and rice.

1. Image: Cereals and cereal products

Image: Cereals and cereal products

1. Image: Cereals and cereal products

Photos of 'Cereals and Cereal Products' and examples listed. There are 3 main types: 'Bread types' lists white, multi grain, brown and rye with examples of rolls, damper, flat bread, sweet topped, savoury topped, English muffins, gluten free, and photos of different loaves and slices of bread; 'Cereal types' lists breakfast types of corn, rice or wheat based and oats with examples of toasted, untoasted, sweetened, unsweetened, with fruits, nuts and seeds, and photos of wheat, oats and muesli; 'Grains and grain products' lists barley, polenta, couscous, quinoa, plain rice, pasta and noodles with photo of white rice.

Around nine out of ten people reported eating foods from the Cereals and cereal products group in the day prior to interview see Table 4.1. This category provided 18% of people's daily energy on average with the majority coming from bread, breakfast cereals and rice see Table 4.1.

Bread

Within the Cereal and cereal products group, Regular breads, and bread rolls (plain/unfilled/untopped varieties) were the products most commonly consumed with 66% of people consuming regular bread, and 13% consuming English-style muffins, flat breads, savoury and sweet breads. Older people (aged 71 years and over) were most likely to eat regular bread with 83% consuming it on the day prior to interview, followed by children aged 4 to 8 years (80%) and 2 to 3 years (76%). Young adults aged 19-30 years were least likely (54%) to consume regular bread see Table 4.1. Among the consumers of regular bread, the median amount consumed on a day was 72 grams (around 2 average slices), with males consuming more than females see Table 6.1.

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  1. Includes bread rolls (plain/unfilled/untopped varieties).
  2. On the day prior to interview.


White bread was the most popular in the Regular breads, and bread rolls category, making up 58% of bread consumed (by weight), with mixed grain and wholemeal varieties accounting for 18% each see Table 5.3. Around half (49%) of all bread in this category was consumed in sandwiches or rolls, with another 29% eaten as toast.

Breakfast cereals

Breakfast cereals, ready to eat were consumed by 36% of the population, with a further 7% eating porridge. Children aged 2-3 years were most prevalent consumers of Breakfast cereals (54%), followed by 4-8 year olds (52%) and the 71 years and over group (50%) see Table 4.1. Male consumers ate a median daily amount of 51 grams of Breakfast cereals, ready to eat, while females ate a median amount of 35 grams which is equivalent to around one metric cup of breakfast cereal flakes see Table 6.1.

Milk products and dishes

The Milk products and dishes food group includes milk, yoghurt, cream, cheese, custards, ice cream, milk shakes, smoothies and dishes where milk is the major component e.g. cheesecake, rice pudding and crème brûlée. Note that some milk that is consumed as part of a beverage is not in Milk products and dishes but is included in the Major group Non-alcoholic beverages, for example, cafe-style coffees.

More than eight out of ten people consumed from the Milk products and dishes group on the day prior to interview see Table 4.1, with foods in this group providing an average 11% of the population's energy intake see Table 8.1.

Dairy milk

Dairy milk (cow, sheep and goat) was consumed by 68% of the population see Table 4.1, with the average daily consumption of milk being 148 mls. A further 27 mls of milk was consumed on average from Flavoured milks and milkshakes.¹ Over half (58%) of Dairy milk consumed from Milk products and dishes was full fat, with a further 31% being reduced fat and 11% skim see Table 5.3. More than half (58%) of Dairy milk was consumed as an addition to cereal, with just under a one-quarter (23%) combined with other ingredients as a part of a beverage (such as milk added to tea) and 18% was consumed alone.²

Cheese

Cheese was consumed by 32% of the population, with the highest prevalence of consumption among children aged 2-3 years (43%) and 4-8 years (39%) see Table 4.1. The majority of cheese consumed ³ was of the hard, ripened variety (67%), with 22% being processed cheese, 10% being cream/cottage cheese and 3% being the surface-ripened cheese (such as camembert or brie). Just 15% of all cheese consumed was classed as reduced fat see Table 5.3.

Ice cream

Frozen milk products were consumed by 15% of the population, with Ice cream making up 91% of this category see Table 4.3. Children aged 9-13 and 4-8 years were most likely to consume frozen milk products (27% and 21% respectively) see Table 4.1.

Yoghurt

Overall, yoghurt was consumed by 16% of the population, but consumption was twice as high among 2-3 year olds (36%), and females (20%) were more likely than males (13%) to consume yoghurt see Table 4.1. Around three-quarters (76%) of the yoghurt consumed was flavoured or had added fruit, with natural yoghurt making up 21%. Reduced fat, skim and non-fat yoghurts made up just under half (46%) of all yoghurts consumed see Table 5.3.

Endnotes

  1. The group Dairy milk (cow, sheep and goat), excludes the milk consumed as a beverage within the Major group Non-alcoholic beverages. For example, cafe-style coffees are estimated to have contributed another 36 grams of milk.
  2. Not available from published tables. Derived from combination codes. See Glossary.
  3. Proportions calculated excluding Cheese not further defined. 

Vegetable products and dishes

The Vegetable products and dishes food group includes vegetables and dishes where vegetable is the major component. e.g. zucchini slice and potato bake.

In 2011-12, three-quarters of people consumed Vegetable products and dishes on the day prior to interview. The largest contributing sub-major group was Potatoes (consumed by 31%) see Table 4.1 and Table 4.3. Around half (52%) of all potatoes consumed were boiled, baked, roasted, fried or grilled, with 32% eaten as chips, fries, wedges or similar products and the remainder (16%) eaten in mixed dishes such as mashed potato or potato bake see Table 5.3.

Dishes where vegetables are the major component were consumed by 22% of people see Table 4.1. This was mostly comprised of Salads (73%) and Vegetable and sauce dishes such as vegetable casseroles and curries (23%) see Table 5.3.

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  1. On the day prior to interview.
  2. Includes mushrooms, cucumber, sweetcorn, pumpkin, avocado, capsicum and zucchini.


Apart from potatoes and the vegetables consumed in salads and mixed dishes, the most popularly consumed vegetables were tomatoes (consumed by 18%), leaf vegetables (mainly lettuce) (17%) and carrots (14%) see Table 4.3.

The average amount of vegetables consumed was 156 grams per day, but consumption varied with age group. For example, young people aged 14 to 18 years consumed an average of 123 grams per day while people aged 51-70 consumed an average 179 grams per day see Table 5.1.

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  1. On the day prior to interview


The greater average vegetable intake among adults compared with teenagers is explained by the higher intake of non-potato vegetables in the older age group. For example, people aged 51-70 years consumed an average 134 grams of non-potato vegetables, twice as much as the 14-18 year olds (67 grams) see Table 5.1.

'Usual' serves of vegetables

In addition to collecting information about the foods actually consumed on the previous day, the 2011-12 AHS also asked people the usual number of serves of vegetables consumed in a day (where a serve is equivalent to half a cup of cooked vegetables, half a medium potato or 1 cup of salad vegetables). The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend a minimum number of servings per day based on individuals' age and sex.

Recommended usual intake of vegetables

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend a minimum number of serves of vegetables and legumes/beans each day, depending on age and sex, to ensure good nutrition and health. The table below outlines the recommended number of serves for children, adolescents and adults. A serve is approximately half a cup of cooked vegetables or legumes/beans or one cup of salad vegetables - equivalent to around 75 grams.*

Recommended daily serves of vegetables, by age

AgeVegetables for malesVegetables for females
2-3 years2.52.5
4-8 years4.54.5
9-11 years55
12-13 years5.55
14-18 years5.55
19-50 years65**
51-70 years5.55
70+ years55
*Note, while the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines include servings of legumes and beans in the recommendations for vegetable intake, the AHS only collected serves of vegetables (excluding legumes).
**Note, the recommended usual intake of vegetables for breastfeeding women is 7.5 serves and pregnant women is 5 serves, however these population groups have not been separated from the nutrient data output for this data item.
 

Overall, just 6.8% of the population met the recommended usual intake of vegetables¹. Children aged 2-3 years (where the recommended number of serves is two and a half serves) were most likely to meet that with 49% usually eating 2 serves. Least likely to eat the recommended number of serves of vegetables were 19-30 year old males where just 1.6% usually ate 6 or more serves per day.

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  1. Based on Usual serves of vegetables from Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-12     
  2. According to the NHMRC Australian Dietary Guidelines, 2013.       
  3. See endnote 1   
           

Endnotes

  1. The AHS questionnaire was developed prior to the release of the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines and consequently the units used in the AHS (whole serves) do not allow strict comparability with the guidelines (in which some age/sex groups use half serves). The data presented have been derived by rounding the recommendation down to the whole number of serves, it is therefore likely that proportions who would meet the recommendation in particular categories are overestimates. 

Cereal based products and dishes

The Cereal based products and dishes food group includes biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, dumplings, pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, and pasta and rice mixed dishes.

1. Image: Cereal based products and dishes

Image: Cereal based products and dishes

1. Image: Cereal based products and dishes

Photos of 'Cereal based products and dishes' and examples listed. There are 4 main types: 'Mixed dishes' lists pizza, burger and pasta dishes and includes photos of each; 'Cakes, Muffins, Scones' includes a photo of a cake; 'Pastries' lists pies, rolls, danishes etc.; 'Biscuits' lists sweet and savoury with a picture of sweet shortbread biscuits.

Seven out of ten people consumed Cereal based products and dishes¹ on the day prior to interview, and on average, foods in this group provided 20% of the total energy intake see Table 7.1. The largest contributing sub-major group was Mixed dishes where cereal is the major ingredient which was consumed by 35% of the population. The foods in this group included Savoury pasta/noodle dishes² (consumed by 14%), Burgers (7%), Pizza (6%) and commercially prepared Sandwiches and filled rolls (5%) see Table 4.3. The peak age groups consuming Mixed dishes where cereal is the major ingredient were the 14-18 year olds and 19-30 year olds, where around half (51% and 47% respectively) consumed from this group. Older people were least likely to consume a mixed dish where cereal is the major ingredient with 23% of 51-70 year olds and 13% of people aged 71 years and over having at least one of these foods see Table 4.1.

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  1. On the day prior to interview.
     

Biscuits

Sweet biscuits were consumed by 24% of the population, while Savoury biscuits were consumed by 17%. Consumption of both biscuit types was more frequent among children and older adults. Among children aged 2-3 years, 40% consumed a sweet biscuit and 33% consumed a savoury biscuit. The prevalence of biscuit consumption declined progressively in older children and young adults, with people aged 19-30 years least likely to consume a sweet (16%) or savoury (11%) biscuit. In subsequent age groups, consumption increased, with 36% of the oldest adults having a sweet biscuit and 19% having a savoury biscuit see Table 4.1.

Cakes, muffins, scones, and cake-type desserts

Cakes, muffins, scones and cake-type desserts were consumed by 16% of the population on the day prior to interview. Children aged 4-8 years were most likely to consume Cakes, muffins, scones and cake-type desserts (22%), with a similar proportion being consumed by 9-13 year olds and 71 years and over (20%) see Table 4.1.

Pastries

Pastries were consumed by 14% of the population, with the majority of this consumption coming from savoury pastry products (pies, rolls and envelopes). These products were consumed by around 10% of the population see Table 4.1.

Endnotes

  1. Cereal based products and dishes differs from Cereal and Cereal products in that the former very often have a more substantial content of non-cereal ingredients and are often consumed without additions (e.g. burgers, pizza, pasta and sauce), while the latter are primarily basic cereal ingredients and would often be combined with other foods during consumption (e.g. bread, breakfast cereal, rice).
  2. The actual proportion consuming any pasta/noodles would be higher, with 6.9% of people who consumed Pasta and pasta products (without sauce) from the Cereals and cereal products major group and 3.7% consuming meat dishes with added pasta noodles or rice within the Meat, poultry and game products and dishes major group. However, there would be some overlap of consumers within these groups. 

Meat, poultry and game products and dishes

The Meat, poultry and games products and dishes food group includes beef, sheep, pork, poultry, sausages, processed meat (e.g. salami) and mixed dishes where meat or poultry is the major component e.g. casseroles, curried sausages and chicken stir-fry.

Around seven out of ten people consumed a food from the Meat, poultry and game products and dishes group on the day prior to interview, providing 14% of total energy intakes see Table 7.1. Males were slightly more likely than females to consume from this group (72% and 66% respectively) see Table 4.1. Chicken was the most commonly consumed meat within this category with 17% eating a piece of chicken with another 14% eating chicken as part of mixed dish. Beef (without other ingredients) was consumed by 12%, with a further 9% eating beef as part of a mixed dish. Processed meat was consumed by 22% of the population, with ham the most popular processed meat being consumed by 12% of people. Sausages were consumed by 7% of the population, while lamb and bacon were each consumed by 5% of people see Table 4.1.

Fruit products and dishes

The Fruit products and dishes food group includes fresh, dried and preserved fruit as well as mixed dishes where fruit is the major component such as apple crumble.

While fruit was consumed by six out of ten people overall in the day before interview, the proportion of consumers varied considerably across age groups and by sex. Teenage and young adult males were the least likely to eat fruit with 45% of 14-18 year olds and 39% of 19-30 year olds reporting any fruit consumption the previous day, while children aged 2-3 and 4-8 years had the highest rate of fruit consumption with 84% and 80% respectively. Females were more likely to consume fruit beyond the 4-8 years group, contributing to the overall higher rate of fruit consumption among females (65%) than males (55%) see Table 4.1.

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  1. On the day prior to interview.


While the proportion of fruit consumers was higher among females, the difference in the average amount consumed was not statistically significantly different (145 grams for males and 147 grams among females) indicating relatively higher consumption among the males who did consume see Table 5.1. The median amount of fruit consumed by male consumers was 202 grams, while for females it was 176 grams see Table 6.1.

Apples were the most commonly consumed fruit type with 23% of people consuming apple on the day before interview. Bananas were the second most popular (18% of people consuming), followed by mandarins (7.8%), oranges (6.8%) berry fruit (6.1%) and peaches and nectarines (4.7%) see Table 4.3.

​​​​​​​'Usual' serves of fruit

In addition to collecting information about the foods actually consumed on the previous day, the AHS also asked respondents the usual number of serves of fruit consumed in a day (where a serve is equivalent to one medium piece or two small pieces of fruit or one cup of diced fruit pieces or one quarter of a cup of sultanas or four dried apricot halves). The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend one serve of fruit for 2-3 year olds, one-and-a-half serves for 4-8 year olds¹, and two serves for everyone aged 9 years and over. Overall, just over half (54%) of Australians consumed the recommended serves of fruit with females (58%) more likely than males (50%) to meet the recommendation.

Recommended usual intake of fruit

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend a minimum number of serves of fruit each day, depending on age and sex, to ensure good nutrition and health. The table below outlines the recommended number of serves for children, adolescents and adults. Although the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines specify that fruit should mostly be eaten fresh and raw, other forms of fruit can count towards the daily serves occasionally. A serve is approximately 150 grams of fresh fruit, 125 ml of fruit juice (no added sugar) or 30 grams of dried fruit.*

Recommended daily services of fruit, by age

AgeFruit (serves)
2-3 years1
4-8 years1.5
9-11 years2
12-13 years2
14-18 years2
19-50 years2
51-70 years2
70+ years2
*Note, while the NHMRC 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines allow fruit juice to be used occasionally as one of the daily serves of fruit, the AHS only collected usual serves of fruit (excluding juice).
 

The age-sex pattern of the proportion who met the recommended number of serves reflects the same pattern of Fruit products and dishes consumption. This suggests that unlike vegetable consumption, many of the people who ate fruit reported eating a usual number of serves that met the recommendation.

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  1. Based on Usual serves of fruit from Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-12.
  2. According to the NHMRC Australian Dietary Guidelines, 2013.
  3. See Endnote 2.
     

Endnotes

  1. NHMRC 2013, Australian Dietary Guidelines, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-dietary-guidelines, Last accessed 30/04/2013.
  2. Although the AHS collected whole serves which does not allow strict comparability for the 4-8 year olds, rounding the recommendation down to the one serve provides an indication of the proportion who would meet the recommendation.

Sugar products and dishes

The Sugar products and dishes food group includes sugar, honey, syrups, jam, chocolate spreads and sauces and dishes and products other than confectionery where sugar is the major component e.g. pavlova and meringue.

Although only contributing 2% of total energy intakes on average, Sugar products and dishes were consumed by half (50%) of the population on the day before interview in 2011-12. This included 36% who had sugar, 9% who had honey and sugar syrups and 8% who had jams and conserves, sugar sweetened. Males were more likely to have been Sugar products and dishes consumers than females (52% compared with 48% respectively), but the gap was mainly evident among the 51-70 years and 71 years and over age groups. People aged 71 years and over had the highest rates of consumption of Sugar products and dishes, this was due to 50% using sugar, honey and syrups and 19% using jam and lemon spreads, chocolate spreads and sauces see Table 4.1. Of the average 7.5 grams of sugar, honey and syrups that were reported per person per day, 60% was added to beverages and 20% added to cereals.

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  1. On the day prior to interview.


While not part of the Sugar products and dishes group, intense (or artificial) sweeteners were added to foods and beverages by 4% of the population. The highest prevalence of consumption was among the 71 years and over population at 11%, followed by the 51-70 year olds at 6.7% see Table 4.1.

Fats and oils

The Fats and Oils food group includes butters, dairy blends, margarines and other fats, such as animal-based fats.

Fats and oils were consumed by 46% of the population¹, and was mostly made up of the 27% who had margarine and table spreads and the 15% who had butter. The majority (86%) of fats and oils consumed were reported as an addition to sandwiches or on bread/baked products, with a further 9% added to vegetables or salads. The age pattern of consumption followed a similar relative distribution as for Regular breads, and bread rolls, reflecting the close pairing of these foods see Table 4.1.

    Endnotes

    1. Where people consumed oils and fats with cooked dishes, the oil or fat would be included in that dish rather than reported separately. 

    Confectionery and cereal, nut, fruit, seed bars

    The Confectionery and cereal/nut/fruit/seed bars food group includes chocolate, fruit, nut and seed bars and muesli or cereal style bars.

    Confectionery and cereal/nut/fruit/seed bars were consumed by 32% of the population, although almost half of children aged 4 to 8 years (49%) and 9 to 13 years (48%) were consumers on the day before interview. Chocolate and chocolate-based confectionary was overall the most popular type of confectionary with 17% of people consuming. Other confectionery (mainly consisting of lollies) were consumed by 11% of the population, but children aged less than 14 years were the most likely consumers with 17-18% consuming. Children in this age group were also most likely to consume Muesli or cereal style bars, with 16% of both 4-8 year olds and 9-13 year olds consuming muesli bars see Table 4.1.

    Alcoholic beverages

    The Alcoholic beverages food group includes beers, wines, spirits, cider and other alcoholic beverages.

    Alcohol was consumed by almost one in three people (32%) aged 19 years and over on the day before interview and contributed 6% of the total energy intake for this population see Table 4.1 and Table 7.1. Among the alcohol consumers, 16% of their daily energy intake was provided by alcoholic beverage (includes energy from the carbohydrate content in addition to the ethanol content). The most commonly consumed alcoholic drinks were Wines (13%) and Beers (11%), with Spirits (excluding pre-mixed) being consumed by 2.1% see Table 4.1.

    Energy and nutrients

    Energy and nutrient intakes in this publication are derived only from foods and beverages from the first 24-hour recall day. The nutrients from supplements are excluded from this analysis. No adjustment has been made to include information from the second 24-hour recall day to calculate usual intakes, which will be the focus of the Australian Health Survey: Usual Nutrient Intakes publication (scheduled for release in late 2014).

    Energy

    Dietary energy is required by the body for metabolic processes, physiological functions, muscular activity, heat production and growth and development.¹ Energy requirements vary with age, sex, body size and physical activity, so the amount of energy consumed would be expected to vary considerably throughout the population. On the day prior to interview, the average energy intake was 9,655 kilojoules (kJ) for males and 7,402 kJ for females see Table 1.1. However, this is likely to be an under-estimate due to the inherent under-reporting bias associated with dietary surveys. It is difficult, from the available data, to accurately estimate the amount of under-reporting that has occurred and therefore how much energy and nutrients might be missing from the intakes reported by respondents. One method is to estimate the mean amount of energy required for each individual to achieve an EI:BMR ratio of 1.55 (i.e. the conservative minimum energy requirement for a normally active but sedentary population). Using this method, it is estimated that the average energy intakes may be understated by as much as 17% in males and 21% in females. The factor most closely associated with under-reporting was BMI, where people who were overweight or obese were most likely to have lower than expected energy intakes. For more information see Under-reporting in Nutrition Surveys in the AHS Users' Guide.

    Energy intakes were lowest among the toddler aged children who averaged 5,951 kJ and were highest among 19-30 year old males (11,004 kJ). Female energy intakes were highest among the 14-18 year olds (8,114 kJ).

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    1. On the day prior to interview.


    The leading sub-major food groups contributing energy were Mixed dishes where cereal is the major ingredient (9.9%), Regular breads, and bread rolls (7.7%), Beef, sheep and pork (including mixed dishes) (5.7%), Poultry (including in mixed dishes) (5.4%), Dairy milk (4.3%), Breakfast cereals ready to eat (3.7%) and Cakes, muffins, scones, cake-type desserts (3.5%) see Table 8.1.

    Endnotes

    1. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council http://www.nrv.gov.au/dietary-energy, Last accessed 02/05/2014. 

    Macronutrients

    Dietary energy is derived from the macronutrient content of foods. The energy yielding macronutrients are: protein, fat, carbohydrate and alcohol with small amounts of additional energy provided by dietary fibre and organic acids. Imbalances in the proportion of energy derived from macronutrients are associated with increased risk of chronic diseases. There is however, a wide range in which the macronutrient balance is considered acceptable for managing chronic disease risk. Reference ranges known as Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR) form part of the recommendations for optimising diets to lower chronic disease risk while ensuring adequate micronutrient status.¹

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    1. Proportions will not add to 100% due to excluding energy from fibre and other components. See User Guide - Energy conversion factors


    Overall, the average proportion of energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrate of the population (based on a single 24-hour recall) was within the bounds of the AMDR. Carbohydrate contributed the largest proportion to the population's energy intake with 45%, a level similar to that in 1995, but still at the lower end of the recommended intake range (45% to 65%). Based on a single day's intake it is not possible to estimate the proportion who would have usual intakes that were below the AMDR². However, some age groups (31-50 years, 51-70 years and 71 years and over) had averages that were below the lower end of the range indicating that a considerable proportion may have a carbohydrate contribution of less than 45% of energy. The lowest was 42% among the 51-70 year olds. While this population was within the AMDR for protein and fat, their proportion of energy from alcohol (5.6%) was high relative to other age groups see Table 2.1.

    The balance of macronutrients shifted across age groups, with children tending to have a greater proportion of energy coming from carbohydrate and less from protein than progressively older age groups. Between the age of 4-8 years and 51-70 years, the carbohydrate contribution to energy declined from 51% to 42%, while protein increased from 16% to 19% see Table 2.1. The dietary patterns responsible for this shift are seen in the different proportion of food types contributing to energy intake. For example, the children aged 4-8 years had a higher proportion of their energy coming from the carbohydrate-rich Regular bread, and bread rolls (9.8%) and Mixed dishes where cereal is the major ingredient (8.6%) than the 51-70 year olds (8.5% and 6.4% respectively). In contrast, the 4-8 year olds had a lower proportion of energy coming from Beef, sheep and pork (including mixed dishes) at 2.6% compared with 7.2% among the 51-70 year olds see Table 8.1

    Endnotes

    1. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council http://www.nrv.gov.au/chronic-disease/macronutrient-balance, Last accessed 02/05/2014.
    2. Please refer to Glossary for definitions.
       

    Carbohydrate

    Carbohydrates are the major source of energy for the body and are an important source of fuel for brain cells. The two major types of carbohydrates are sugars and starch (complex carbohydrates). The latter are found in many foods including starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas and corn. Grain foods such as wheat, oats and rice are also an important source of complex carbohydrates. Sugars include natural sugar which is found in foods such as fruit and milk products as well as the added sugar in a range of processed foods.¹

    The average amount of carbohydrate intake consumed per person per day was 229 grams see Table 1.1. Carbohydrate contributed 45% of total energy intakes, with Total starch contributing 24% of energy and Total sugars contributing 20% of energy see Table 2.1. The leading sub-major food groups contributing to Total starch were: Regular breads, and bread rolls (providing 21% of starch), Mixed dishes where cereal is the major ingredient (16%), Flours and other cereal grains and starches (mainly rice) (10%), Breakfast cereals, ready to eat (9%), and Potatoes (7%) see Table 10.11. Total sugars includes those sugars naturally present in foods such as in fruit and milk as well as the sugars added to processed foods and beverages. The food groups contributing the greatest amounts of sugars were: Fruit products and dishes (15.6%), Soft drinks, and flavoured mineral waters (providing 9.7% of sugars), Dairy milk (8.1%), Fruit and vegetable juices, and drinks (7.5%), Sugar, honey and syrups (6.5%), Cakes, muffins, scones and cake-type desserts (5.8%) see Table 10.9.

    Endnotes

    1. National Health and Medical Research Council 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-dietary-guidelines, Last accessed 30/04/2014. 

    Protein

    Both animal and plant foods provide protein including, for example, meat, poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, tofu, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds. Proteins consumed in the diet are broken down and their constituent amino acids may be used in synthesing new proteins for the body or used as a source of energy.1 Protein contributed an average of 18% of dietary energy, which was significantly higher than the average contribution in 1995 (16%) see Table 2.1. The major food sources of protein included: Beef, sheep and pork (15%, including Mixed dishes where beef, sheep, pork is the major component), Poultry (13%), including Mixed dishes where poultry or feathered game is the major component), Mixed dishes where cereal is the major ingredient (12%), Regular breads, and bread rolls (7.4%), Dairy milk (6.1%) and Fish and seafood products and dishes (5.7%) see Table 10.3.

    Endnotes

    1. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/protein, Last accessed 30/04/2014.

    Fat

    Fat has the highest energy density of the macronutrients. In addition to being a concentrated form of energy, fats help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A. Dietary fats may be saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated, depending on their chemical structure. In general, saturated fats are found in animal-based foods, while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are found in plant-based foods, although there are some exceptions.¹

    Fat contributed an average 31% of the population's dietary energy intake. Saturated fat (including trans fatty acids) contributed an average 12% of energy, while monounsaturated fat also contributed 12% and polyunsaturated fat contributed 4.7%. Between 1995 and 2011-12, the contribution of saturated fat declined by around one percentage point, which although small was statistically significant see Table 2.1.

    Linoleic acid is a particular type of polyunsaturated fatty acid associated with blood lipid profiles seen as having a lower risk of coronary heart disease. It is found in vegetable oils (such as safflower, grapeseed and sunflower) as well as nuts and seeds.¹ Linoleic acid contributed 3.9% of energy, just below the lower bound of the AMDR (4-10%). Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a plant-based omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid which is considered a small but important component of dietary intake in relation to helping reduce coronary heart disease risk. It is found in vegetable oils such as canola and linseed or flaxseed, nuts, and seeds. The average contribution of ALA to total dietary energy was 0.6% which is within the AMDR (0.4-1%) The leading food sources for Total Fat include Mixed dishes where cereal is the major ingredient (11%), Beef, sheep and pork (8.0% including mixed dishes), Poultry (7.4% including mixed dishes), Dairy milk (5.0%) and Cakes, muffins, scones and cake-type desserts (4.2%) see Table 10.5.

    Endnotes

    National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical
    Research Council http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/fats-total-fat-fatty-acids, Last accessed 30/04/2014. 

    Alcohol

    Pure alcohol is a relatively energy rich macronutrient, second only to fat in energy density, although it is nutrient poor. In 2011-12, alcohol contributed an average of 3.4% to the population's total energy intake, but this ranged from 0% among children aged less than 14 years to 6.6% among males aged 51-70 years see Table 2.1. There is no AMDR for alcohol, however, the general recommendation is that alcohol should form less than 5% of energy intakes.¹ Around one-quarter of Australians (5.4 million people) consumed some alcoholic beverage on the day prior to interview, and for this population, the average contribution of alcohol to energy was 13%.

    Endnotes

    1. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, http://www.nrv.gov.au/chronic-disease/macronutrient-balance, Last accessed 30/04/2014. 

    Selected micronutrients

    The vitamins and minerals presented in Table 1.1 and Table 3.1 are based on Day 1 intakes from foods only, (that is, not adjusted for usual intakes and exclusive of any amounts taken from dietary supplements). Although the data are presented alongside Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) such as Estimated Average Requirements, (EARs), these are for context only and do not indicate the levels of nutrient deficiency/excess intake of the population group in relation to that NRV.

    In order to make assessments about the proportion of the population who are at risk of inadequate intakes over the longer term, it is necessary to consider not only the mean or median intake but also the distribution of longer-term ‘usual’ intake in the population. Such an analysis requires estimates of usual intake distributions (i.e. percentiles) to be compared with NRVs and will be the focus of a future AHS product release. For more information about estimating usual intakes see the AHS Users' Guide - Usual Nutrient Intakes.

    Folate

    Folate is a B group vitamin that is essential for healthy growth and development. Folate is particularly important in helping prevent neural tube defects (NTDs) in babies, including spina bifida. Folic acid is the form of folate used in supplements and for food fortification as it is more stable than the naturally-occurring forms in foods.¹ Given the critical importance of folate in early growth and development, it is recommended that all women of childbearing age, even if they are not planning on becoming pregnant, take extra folic acid.2 Mandatory fortification of bread making flour with folic acid was also introduced in Australia in 2009 to help reduce the incidence of NTDs. Folate is also found naturally in foods such as green leafy vegetables, fruits and grains. Folate equivalents are used to measure folate intakes to account for the differing bioavailability of natural folate and folic acid.

    In 2011-12, the average daily amount of folate equivalents consumed from foods was 683 µg for males and 544 µg among females see Table 1.1. In a similar pattern to thiamin, male folate equivalents were higher than females in each age group from 4-8 years and over, again reflecting the higher consumption of Cereals and cereal products among males. Cereals and cereal products and Cereal based products and dishes contributed 57% of folate equivalents, followed by Non-alcoholic beverages (8.3%, mainly from fruit juice and tea) and Vegetable products and dishes (7.9%) see Table 10.43.

    For more information of folate levels of women of childbearing age see the Feature Article: Women of Childbearing Age from the Australian Health Survey: Biomedical Results for Nutrients, 2011-12.

    Folate equivalents, Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) and mean daily intake, by age

    Age (years)EAR (µg)(a)Mean intake (µg)(b)
     MalesFemalesMalesFemales
    2-3120120496491
    4-8160160650573
    9-13250250715595
    14-18330330755560
    19-30320320700536
    31-50320320687529
    51-70320320667543
    71 and over320320686553
    Source:
    a. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/folate

     

    Endnotes

    1. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/folate, Last accessed 30/04/2014.
    2. Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2012, Folic acid fortification, http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/nutrition/folicmandatory/pages/default.aspx, Last accessed 30/04/2014. 

    Vitamin B12

    Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA. Almost all vitamin B12 comes from animal foods, such as meat and dairy products.¹

    In 2011-12, vitamin B12 intakes from food averaged 5.0 µg per day among males and 3.8 µg per female. Males aged 19-30 years had the highest intakes at 5.9 µg, reflecting their relatively high consumption of Meat and poultry products and dishes. In contrast, females aged 19-30 had an average 3.7 µg see Table 1.1. Main sources of vitamin B12 were Milk products and dishes (30%), Meat, poultry and game products and dishes (29%) Cereal-based products and dishes (13%) and Fish and seafood products and dishes (8.8%) see Table 10.47.

    Note that vitamin B12 biomarkers were collected as part of the National Health Measures Survey. See the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13, Folate & Vitamin B12 Biomarkers.

    Vitamin B12, Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) and mean daily intake, by age

    Age (years)EAR (µg)(a)Mean intake (µg)(b)
     MalesFemalesMalesFemales
    2-30.70.73.73.5
    4-81.01.03.63.0
    9-131.51.54.33.7
    14-182.02.05.23.7
    19-302.02.05.93.7
    31-502.02.05.33.8
    51-702.02.04.94.0
    71 and over2.02.04.43.8
    Source:
    a. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/vitamin-b12

     

    Endnotes

    1. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/vitamin-b12, Last accessed 30/04/2014. 

    Calcium

    Calcium is a mineral required for the growth and maintenance of the bones and teeth, as well as the proper functioning of the muscular and cardiovascular systems. Milk, milk-based foods and fortified dairy substitutes are the richest sources of calcium, although it is also found in smaller amounts in sardines and other bony fish, legumes and certain nuts.¹

    In 2011-12, the daily amount of calcium consumed from foods and beverages averaged 865 mg among males and 745 mg among females. Between the ages of 12 and 18 years where the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) is 1,050 mg per day, both males and females this age had average intakes below this amount based on their reported foods and beverages. Females in each older age groups also had average intakes of calcium less than the respective EARs, as did males aged 51-70 and 71 years and over see Table 1.1.

    Milk products and dishes were the major source of calcium providing 42%; this was mainly from dairy milk (21%), cheese (9.6%) and yoghurt (4.8%). Other food groups contributing calcium included Cereals and cereal products, Cereal-based products and dishes (13% each) and Non-alcoholic beverages (12%). Compared with 1995, when the average calcium intake was 95 mg per 1,000 kJ, the 2011-12 average intake was very similar (98 mg per 1,000 kJ) see Table 10.53.

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    Calcium, Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) and mean daily intake, by age

    Age (years)EAR (mg)(a)Mean intake (mg)(b)
     MalesFemalesMalesFemales
    2-3360360775768
    4-8520520805676
    9-11 12-13800 1,050800 1,050866 945805 807
    14-181,0501,050925741
    19-30840840954765
    31-50840840911758
    51-708401,100781741
    71 and over1,1001,100726674
    Source:
    a. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/calcium

     

    Endnotes

    1. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/calcium, Last accessed 17/04/2014.

    Sodium

    Sodium occurs in a number of different forms but is generally consumed as sodium chloride (commonly known as 'salt'). Sodium is found naturally in foods such as milk, cream, eggs, meat and shellfish. Sodium is also added to foods to enhance flavours and as a preservative. Processed foods, such as snack foods, bacon and other processed meats, and condiments generally have high levels of sodium added during processing. High intakes of sodium can increase blood pressure, and high blood pressure can increase the risk of developing heart and kidney problems.¹

    In 2011-12, the average daily amount of sodium consumed from food for all persons aged two years and over was 2,404 mg (equivalent to around one teaspoon of table salt) see Table 1.1. This amount 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'. With an estimated 64% of Australians reporting that they add salt very often or occasionally either during meal preparation or at the table see Table 12.1, the average amounts of sodium presented here are likely to be an underestimate. See Interpretation section within the Nutrient Intake chapter of the AHS Users' Guide.

    Sodium consumption was significantly higher among males than females across the age groups and peaked among males aged 14-18 years and 19-30 years whose average consumption was 3,117 mg and 3,120 mg respectively (equivalent to 8 grams of salt).² All male age groups except for those aged 71 years and over had average intakes that exceeded the Upper Level (UL) of sodium intake recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).¹ Among females, only those age groups younger than 19 years had average sodium intakes in excess of the UL.

    One-quarter (25%) of sodium came from Cereal-based products and dishes (mainly from the mixed dishes where cereal is the major ingredient), while 18% came from Cereal and cereal products (mainly bread) and 18% came from Meat and poultry (mainly processed meat and mixed dishes) see Table 10.67.

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    Sodium, Upper Level of intake (UL) and mean daily intake, by age

    Age (years)UL(mg)(a)Mean intake (mg)(b)
     MalesFemalesMalesFemales
    2-31,0001,0001,5171,448
    4-81,4001,4002,2361,868
    9-13 14-182,000 2,3002,000 2,3002,657 3,1172,263 2,399
    19-30 31-50 51-70 71 and over2,300 2,300 2,300 2,3002,300 2,300 2,300 2,3003,120 2,915 2,510 2,2172,303 2,154 1,972 1,773
    Source:
    a. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/sodium

     

    Endnotes

    1. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council,  http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/sodium
    2. 1 gram of sodium chloride (salt) contains 390 mg of sodium. Source: NHMRC 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand,  http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/sodium 

    Iodine

    Iodine is a nutrient essential for the production of thyroid hormones. These hormones are important for normal growth and development, particularly of the brain. The major dietary sources of iodine include seafood (especially seaweed), baked bread and dairy milk. Inadequate amounts of iodine may lead to a range of conditions, including goiter, hypothyroidism, and in severe cases, intellectual disability.¹ Since October 2009, regulations have required that salt with added iodine (iodised salt) be used in all bread (except organic bread and bread mixes for making bread at home) in Australia.²

    The average iodine intakes from food were estimated to be 191 µg among males and 152 µg among females see Table 1.1. However, intakes of iodine exclude the iodine consumed in table salt both in food preparation and at the table. Given that 29% of the population reported that they add iodised salt in food preparation and 21% add iodised salt at the table, these levels are expected to underestimate the true iodine consumption see Table 12.1. See the 'Interpretation' section of the Nutrient Intake chapter in the Users' Guide for more information. Excluding table salt as a source of iodine, the equal major food group contributors were Cereals and cereal products and Milk products and dishes (28% each), followed by Non-alcoholic beverages (14%, mainly from the milk in coffee and drinking water) see Table 10.55.

    For more information on the iodine levels of the Australian population see Feature Article: Iodine from the voluntary urine results collected in National Health Measures Survey.

    Iodine, Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) and mean daily intake, by age

    Age (years)EAR (µg)(a)Mean intake (µg)(b)
     MalesFemalesMalesFemales
    2-36565149150
    4-86565167145
    9-137575185172
    14-189595202159
    19-30100100213153
    31-50100100199153
    51-70100100181148
    71 and over100100172147
    Source:
    a. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/iodine

     

    Endnotes

    1. World Health Organization, UNICEF, ICCIDD, 2007, Assessment of iodine deficiency disorders and monitoring their elimination, http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/micronutrients/iodine_deficiency/9789241595827/en/, Last accessed 17/04/2014.
    2. Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2012, Iodine fortification, http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/nutrition/iodinefort/Pages/default.aspx, Last accessed 02/05/2014.

    Iron

    Iron is a mineral essential for the oxygen carrying ability of red blood cells. Meat, fish, poultry and wholegrain cereals contain iron.¹

    Iron intakes from food and beverages averaged 12 mg per day among males and 9.4 mg among females see Table 1.1. The Major food groups contributing iron were Cereals and cereal products (31%, including 17% from Breakfast cereals, ready to eat and 10% from Regular breads, and rolls), Meat, poultry and game products and dishes (17%) and Cereal-based products and dishes (16%).

    On a per unit of energy comparison, average iron intakes were less in 2011-12 than in 1995 (1.3 per 1,000 kJ and 1.5 mg per 1,000 kJ respectively) see Table 3.1.

    Note that several iron biomarkers were collected as part of the National Health Measures Survey. See the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011 - 13, Iron Biomarkers.

    Iron Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) and mean daily intake, by age

    Age (years)EAR (mg)(a)Mean intake (mg)(b)
     MalesFemalesMalesFemales
    2-34.04.07.97.1
    4-84.04.09.68.0
    9-136.06.011.69.1
    14-188.08.012.59.2
    19-306.08.013.59.7
    31-506.08.012.79.6
    51-706.05.012.29.9
    71 and over6.05.011.69.2
    Source:
    a. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/iron

     

    Endnotes

    1. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council,  http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/iron, Last accessed 17/04/2014. 

    Thiamin

    Thiamin (or vitamin B1) is a vitamin that helps the body convert food into energy for the brain, nervous system, and muscles. Thiamin is found in small quantities in a range of foods, but the main source is cereal foods. Wheat flour for bread making is fortified (enriched) with thiamin in Australia.¹

    In 2011-12, the average daily amount of thiamin consumed from foods was 1.8 mg per male and 1.4 mg per female see Table 1.1. The sex difference was significant from ages 9-13 years and older, reflecting the higher intakes of thiamin rich foods (mainly Cereals and cereal products) among males see Table 10.37. However, all age groups from both sexes had average intakes that exceeded the Estimated Average Requirement. Cereals and cereal products made up 41% of dietary thiamin intake, followed by Yeast, vegetable and meat extracts (12%) Cereal based products and dishes (also 12%) and Meat, poultry and game products and dishes (11%). Compared with 1995, the overall thiamin intake is similar at around 0.2 mg per 1,000 kJ.

    Thiamin, Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) and mean intake, by age

    Age (years)EAR (mg)(a)Mean intake (mg)(b)
     MalesFemalesMalesFemales
    2-30.40.41.31.3
    4-80.50.51.71.5
    9-130.70.71.91.5
    14-181.00.91.91.5
    19-301.00.91.91.4
    31-501.00.91.71.3
    51-701.00.91.71.3
    71 and over1.00.91.71.3
    Source:
    a. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/thiamin

     

    Endnotes

    1. National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/thiamin, Last accessed 17/04/2014.

    Supplements

    Dietary supplements

    Dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, oils, herbs and other nutritive and non-nutritive supplements. These are also referred to as 'complementary medicines,' and the many thousands of these various products are regulated within Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

    In 2011-12, 29% of Australians reported taking at least one dietary supplement on the day prior to interview. Females were more likely than males to have had a dietary supplement (33% and 24% respectively), with the highest proportion of consumers in the older age groups. Almost half (49%) of women aged 71 years and over had taken a supplement, as had 44% of the 51-70 year old women see Table 11.1.

    Half (50%) of the people who had taken a supplement had only taken one type of supplement, with around one-quarter (26%) taking two different supplements and another quarter (24%) taking three or more different supplements.

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    1. On the day prior to interview.
       

    Multi-vitamin and/or multi-mineral supplements were the most commonly taken dietary supplements, being consumed by around 16% of the population with Fish oil supplements taken by around 12% of the population see Table 11.1.

    Some single vitamin or mineral supplements while taken by relatively low proportions of the population, had particularly high proportion of consumers in some groups. For example, Calcium and Vitamin D were taken by between 3% and 4% of the population overall, but by around 13-14% of women aged 71 years and over see Table 11.1.

    Protein supplements

    Special dietary foods is a food category within the food classification used in the 2011-12 NNPAS, but includes foods such as protein supplements. By weight, 70% of the Special dietary foods consumed were Sport and protein prepared beverages and a further 5% were Sport and protein dry powders see Table 5.3. Overall, 2.9% of the population had consumed Special dietary foods on the day prior to interview, but the rate among young men was considerably higher with 7.8% of the 19-30 year olds consuming a Special dietary food see Table 4.1

    Dieting

    Health and body image are among a range of factors that can influence what and how people eat. Dieting may be one response to these particular concerns. In 2011-12, over 2.3 million Australians (13%) aged 15 years and over reported that they were on a diet to lose weight or for some other health reason. This included 15% of females and 11% of males. Being on a diet was most prevalent among 51-70 year olds where 19% of females and 15% of males were on some kind of diet see Table 13.1.

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    Around two-thirds of people who reported being on a diet (or 8.9% of the population aged 15 years and over), indicated they were on a diet to lose weight (including for health reasons as well as to lose weight), while 4.2% of the population were on a diet for other health reasons alone see Table 13.1.

    Around half (49%) of people on a diet described the type of diet they were on as Weight loss or low calorie, with a higher proportion of female dieters being on a Weight loss or low calorie diet than men (53% and 44% respectively). The type of diet also varied by age group, with people aged 71 years and over most likely to report being on a Diabetic diet (31%) or Low fat / cholesterol diet (30%). In contrast, younger people aged 15-30 years were more likely to be on a Weight loss or low calorie diet (55%) or High protein diet (21%) see Table 13.1.

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    1. People may report more than one type of diet.
       

    Dieting and body mass

    Of the 9.2 million Australians aged 15 years and over who were overweight or obese (based on their measured height and weight), one in six (17%) were on a diet at the time of the survey. The prevalence of dieting was higher among overweight/obese females (21%) than males (14%).

    Of overweight or obese people, those who were on a diet were more likely to consider themselves to be overweight compared to those who were not on a diet (81% compared to 61%). Overweight or obese people on a diet were also more likely to be either dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied with their weight compared to those who were not on a diet (60% and 40% respectively).

    Food avoidance due to allergy, intolerance or ethical/ religious reasons

    While for many people, avoiding particular foods is about taste, preference or an effort to make healthy choices, for a significant minority of the population, it is not simply a matter of choice. In 2011-12, 17% of Australians aged 2 years or over (or 3.7 million people) reported avoiding a food due to allergy or intolerance and 7% (1.6 million) avoided particular foods for cultural, religious or ethical reasons see Table 14.1.

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    Food avoidance due to allergy or intolerance was most prevalent among males aged 31-50 years (17%) and females aged 51-70 years (25%). The most common type of food reported causing intolerance was Cow's milk/Dairy (4.5%), followed by Gluten (2.5%), Shellfish (2.0%) and Peanuts (1.4%). While these were the most prevalent types of specific foods that were avoided, a higher proportion of people (8.5%) reported an 'Other' food that was not specifically prompted for. 'Other' included a large variety of specific foods (such as tomatoes, oranges, bananas, and capsicum) and general food types (such as 'spicy food', 'preservatives' and 'acidic foods').

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    1. People may report more than one type of avoidance.
       

    Food avoidance for cultural, religious or ethical reasons was highest among the 19-30 year olds (10%) and the 31-50 years group (9.0%). Pork was the most commonly avoided food (3.9%), followed by Meat (2.1%), while 1.6% specified avoiding Beef.

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    Discretionary foods

    The related risk factors of diet and overweight and obesity contribute a high proportion of disease burden in Australia, manifesting particularly in cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.¹ In 2011-12, 63% of adults and 25% of children in Australia were overweight or obese, with these rates having risen in recent decades.² In addition to regular physical activity, following eating patterns which can provide adequate nutrient intakes whilst not exceeding energy requirements are seen as key to achieving and maintaining healthy body weight. In order to meet nutrient requirements within limited energy intakes, it is suggested that consumption of discretionary (energy dense, nutrient poor) food be reduced.³

    Discretionary foods in the NNPAS

    The Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary lists examples of discretionary choices as including: "most sweet biscuits, cakes, desserts and pastries; processed meats and sausages; ice-cream and other ice confections; confectionary and chocolate; savoury pastries and pies; commercial burgers; commercially fried foods; potato chips, crisps and other fatty and/or salty snack foods; cream, butter and spreads which are high in saturated fats; sugar sweetened soft drinks and cordials, sports and energy drinks and alcoholic drinks". Based on these definitions and the supporting documents which underpin the Australian Dietary Guidelines, foods reported within the NNPAS have been categorised as discretionary or non-discretionary. See User Guide section Discretionary Foods for more information.

    Under-reporting and discretionary foods

    The NNPAS (as with all representative dietary surveys) is subject to under-reporting. That is, a tendency for respondents to either change their behaviour or misrepresent their consumption (whether consciously or sub-consciously) to report a lower energy or food intake. Given the association of under-reporting with overweight/obesity and consciousness of socially acceptable/desirable dietary patterns, discretionary foods would be expected to be more likely to be under-reported than non-discretionary foods. See Users' Guide section Under-reporting in Nutrition Surveys for more information.


    The Australian Dietary Guidelines³ states discretionary foods are: “foods and drinks not necessary to provide the nutrients the body needs, but that may add variety. However, many of these are high in saturated fats, sugars, salt and/or alcohol, and are therefore described as energy dense. They can be included sometimes in small amounts by those who are physically active, but are not a necessary part of the diet.”

    On average, just over one-third (35%) of total daily energy reported as consumed was from 'discretionary foods'. The proportion of energy from discretionary foods was lowest among the 2-3 year old children (30%) and highest among the 14-18 year olds (41%). The proportion of energy from discretionary foods tended to decrease in age groups from 19-30 years and older, however females had significantly lower proportions of consumption than males from 31-50 years to 71 years and over see Table 9.1.

    The particular food groups contributing most to the energy from discretionary foods reported were: Alcoholic beverages (4.8% of energy), Cakes, muffins scones and cake-type desserts (3.4%), Confectionery and cereal/nut/fruit/seed bars (2.8%), Pastries (2.6%), Sweet biscuits and Savoury biscuits (2.5%) and Soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters (1.9%). These were followed by smaller proportions of energy from a range of other discretionary foods including Potatoes (as chips/fries etc) (1.7%), Snack foods (1.5%), Frozen milk products (1.5%) and Sugar, honey and syrups (1.3%).

    The proportion of energy contributed by particular discretionary foods varied with age. For example, the largest discretionary food contributor to the 2-3 year olds energy was Biscuits (4.8%), while for 4-8 and 9-13 year olds it was Cakes, muffins, scones and cake-type desserts (4.8% and 4.6% respectively). Among the 14-18 year olds it was Confectionery and cereal/nut/fruit/seed bars and Soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters (3.7% and 3.6% respectively). In all older age groups, alcoholic drinks formed the largest source of energy from discretionary foods, with 6.0% of energy consumed by people aged 19 years and over coming from Alcoholic beverages see Table 9.1.

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    Endnotes

    1. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 http://www.healthdata.org/results/country-profiles, viewed 20 April 2014.
    2. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013, Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-2012, cat. no. 4364.0.55.003, https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/33C64022ABB5ECD5CA257B8200179437, viewed 20 April 2014.
    3. National Health and Medical Research Council 2013, Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-dietary-guidelines 

    Consumption of sweetened beverages

    Introduction

    Health problems that are linked to poor eating patterns such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, place an enormous burden on individuals, families and society as a whole¹. Recent public health interest has focused on the associations between consumption of added sugars and adverse health outcomes. Sweetened beverages are a major source of added sugar in the diet and are seen as a target for public health intervention, as their consumption is associated with higher energy consumption, weight gain and increased risk of health problems such as dental caries, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease²⁻⁹.

    In the Australian Dietary Guidelines, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends limiting the intake of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks³. In 2006, Australia was one of the 10 highest soft drink consuming countries, based on per capita consumption¹⁰. 

    What are sweetened beverages?

    There are a range of different definitions for Sweetened beverages both nationally and internationally. For the purpose of this article, Sweetened beverages include the sub-categories: sugar-sweetened beverages, and intense-sweetened beverages.

    • Sugar-sweetened beverages include cordials, soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters, energy and electrolyte drinks, fortified waters, and fruit and vegetable drinks* that contain added sugar (typically sucrose).
    • Intense-sweetened beverages include cordials, soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters, and energy and electrolyte drinks that have been artificially sweetened.


    * Fruit and vegetable drinks are water-based beverages that contain some fruit and vegetable juice in addition to added sugar and preservatives¹¹.

    Who consumed sweetened beverages?

    In 2011-12, just under half (42%), or 9 million Australians aged 2 years and over, consumed Sweetened beverages on the day prior to interview; one-third of people (34%) consumed sugar-sweetened beverages and 10% consumed intense-sweetened beverages.

    Overall, males were more likely to drink Sweetened beverages than females (46% compared with 38%). Specifically, males were more likely to drink sugar-sweetened beverages than females (39% compared with 29%), while the proportion consuming intense-sweetened beverages was similar for males and females.

    Consumption of Sweetened beverages increased with age across childhood, peaking among teenagers aged 14-18 years, with 61% consuming Sweetened beverages on the day prior to interview. Two in three teenage males (67%) aged 14-18 years consumed Sweetened beverages, compared with one in two teenage females (55%). The proportion of the population consuming Sweetened beverages declined in successive older adult age groups to less than a quarter (23%) for those aged 71 years and over.

    The proportion of people consuming sugar-sweetened beverages was higher for children aged 2-18 years (47%) than adults (31%).

    Consumption of intense-sweetened beverages was higher among adults (11%) than children (6%) and consumers of intense-sweetened beverages tended to make up a relatively larger proportion of the consumers of Sweetened beverages among adults.

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    1. On the day prior to interview.
       

    Socioeconomic characteristics

    In 2011-12, people living in areas with the highest levels of socioeconomic disadvantage were more likely to drink Sweetened beverages than those living in areas of least disadvantage (47% in the most disadvantaged quintile compared with 38% in the least disadvantaged). This socioeconomic pattern was evident for sugar-sweetened beverages (38% in the most disadvantaged quintile compared with 31% in the least disadvantaged), although consumption of intense-sweetened beverages was similar across differing levels of disadvantage.

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    1. On the day prior to interview.
    2. A lower Index of Disadvantage quintile (e.g. the first quintile) indicates relatively greater disadvantage and a lack of advantage in general. A higher Index of Disadvantage (e.g. the fifth quintile) indicates a relative lack of disadvantage and greater advantage in general.

    Types of sweetened beverages consumed

    • The most commonly consumed Sweetened beverages on the day prior to interview were soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters (29%), with males having consumed more than females (33% compared with 26%).
    • One in ten people (10%) consumed fruit and vegetable drinks, with consumption highest among children (17%).
    • Around 7% of people consumed cordial, with children the most common consumers (11%).
    • Around 3% of people consumed electrolyte and energy drinks, and fortified waters.  Teenagers and young adults aged 14-30 years were the highest consumers (6%).
       

    How much did people consume?

    Of those who consumed Sweetened beverages on the day prior to interview, the median amount consumed was the equivalent of a regular can (375 mls), with males consuming more than females (450 mls compared with 375 mls).

    The median amount of Sweetened beverages consumed generally increased with age across childhood, peaking at 519 mls for those aged 19-30 years, and decreasing over successive age groups.

    Among Sweetened beverage consumers, the amount consumed varies widely. While the median amount of Sweetened beverages consumed on the day prior to interview was around the size of a regular can, the top ten per cent highest consumers of Sweetened beverages consumed more than 1L on the day prior to interview, peaking at 1.5L for males aged 19-30 years. Further analysis of the variation in amount of Sweetened beverages consumed will be published in March 2016.

    Types of sweetened beverages consumed

    • Of the 29% of people who consumed soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters, the median daily intake was equivalent to one regular can (375 mls).
    • The median daily intake of fruit and vegetable drinks by those who consumed them was just over one standard glass (290 mls).
       

    Changes since 1995

    Consumption trends

    Overall, the proportion of people aged 2 years and over who consumed Sweetened beverages decreased from 49% in 1995 to 42% in 2011-12. This was driven primarily by a decrease in consumption of cordial (from 16% in 1995 to 7% in 2011-12), with a decrease in consumption among children from 35% in 1995 to 11% in 2011-12 . The greatest decreases in consumption of Sweetened beverages were seen among children, with the proportion of children aged 2-3 years who consumed Sweetened beverages decreasing by more than half (67% compared with 31%).

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    1. On the day prior to interview.
    2. Includes sugar- and intense sweetened electrolyte drinks for 2011-12 but only sugar-sweetened electrolyte drinks for 1995.
    3. Includes sugar- and intense-sweetened energy drinks for 2011-12 but only sugar-sweetened energy drinks for 1995.
    4. 2011-12 data excludes Very Remote areas of Australia.


    Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages decreased (from 43% in 1995 to 34% in 2011-12), however consumption of intense-sweetened beverages increased (from 8% in 1995 to 10% in 2011-12).

    Overall, the consumption of soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters decreased from 33% in 1995 to 29% in 2011-12. While the proportion of people aged 51-70 years who consumed sugar-sweetened soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters remained similar between 1995 and 2011-12 (around 13%), consumption of intense-sweetened soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters among this age group doubled (from 5% to 11%).

    Under-reporting

    It is common in nutrition surveys for people to underestimate their food intakes¹²

    . This under-reporting can include:

    • actual changes in foods eaten because people know they will be participating in the survey
    • misrepresentation (deliberate, unconscious or accidental), e.g. to make their diets appear more ‘healthy’ or be quicker to report
       

    There appears to be an increase in the level of under-reporting for males between 1995 and 2011-12, especially for males aged 9-50 years. The level of under-reporting by female respondents also appears to have increased, but to a lesser extent than for males. The apparent increases in under-reporting may account for some of the decrease in consumption of Sweetened beverages between 1995 and 2011-12.

    Energy and nutrients intake from sweetened beverages

    Energy

    Sweetened beverages contributed 4% of the total energy intake for people aged 2 years and over, with the proportion for males being slightly higher than for females. Teenagers aged 14-18 years consumed 6% of their energy from Sweetened beverages.

    Total sugars

    Sugar-sweetened beverages contributed 17% of the total sugars (natural and added) consumed overall, with more for males than females (20% compared with 14%). Soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters contributed the greatest amount to total sugars (10%), followed by fruit and vegetable drinks (4%), cordials (3%), and energy and electrolyte drinks and fortified waters (1%).

    Males aged 14-18 years consumed almost one-third (31%) of their total sugars from sugar-sweetened beverages, with soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters the biggest contributor (21%). For females aged 19-30 years, Sweetened beverages contributed around one-fifth (21%) of their total sugar intake, with the majority from soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters (12%).

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    1. On the day prior to interview.
       

    Of people who consumed sugar-sweetened beverages, the average amount of sugar consumed was equivalent to 13 teaspoons (54 g), with males having consumed more than females (14 teaspoons or 60 g compared with 11 teaspoons or 45 g)¹³. On average, teenagers aged 14-18 years consumed 14 teaspoons (58 g) of sugar from sugar-sweetened beverages with males in this age group having consumed more than females (16 teaspoons or 68 g compared with 11 teaspoons or 45 g).

    Health risk factors associated with consumption of sweetened beverages

    Overweight and obesity

    While cross-sectional surveys such as the 2011-12 NNPAS cannot be used to identify causal relationships between health outcomes and behaviours or risk factors, the associations at a point in time provide an indication of current behaviours which can impact on progress of the risk factor or disease. Of the approximately 10 million Australians who were overweight or obese¹, almost half 47% consumed Sweetened beverages, compared with 37% of those who were underweight or of a normal weight.

    While females who were overweight or obese were more likely to drink sugar-sweetened beverages than those who were underweight or normal weight (34% compared with 27%), consumption for males was similar regardless of their body mass (around 40%). Consumption of intense-sweetened beverages among people who were overweight or obese (13%) was twice as high as for those who were underweight or normal weight (6%).

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

    Results from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NATSINPAS) showed that in 2012-13, more than half (56%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 2 years and over consumed Sweetened beverages on the day prior to interview, which was higher than for non-Indigenous people (42%). Half (50%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people consumed sugar-sweetened beverages, compared with one-third of non-Indigenous people (34%). However, the proportion of people consuming intense-sweetened beverages was lower among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (7%) than non-Indigenous people (10%).

    For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, consumption of Sweetened beverages increased with age across childhood, peaking at 65% for those aged 14-30 years, declining in the older age groups to 35% of the population aged 51 years and over.

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    1. On the day prior to interview.
       

    Of those who consumed Sweetened beverages on the day prior to interview, the median daily amount consumed was greater for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (455 mls) than for non-Indigenous people (375 mls).

    Types of sweetened beverages consumed

    • Soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters were the most commonly consumed Sweetened beverages (37%) among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with the highest among those aged 14-30 years (50%).
    • The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2-3 years consuming soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters was three times higher than that of non-Indigenous children (18% compared with 6%). The difference was greater among males, with almost four times as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys aged 2-3 years consuming soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters (23%) than their non-Indigenous counterparts (6%).
    • Around 15% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people consumed cordials, which was twice as many as non-Indigenous people (7%). Again, consumption was highest among children, and the largest difference was for girls aged 2-3 years with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls more than three times as likely to consume cordial than non-Indigenous girls (28% compared with 8%).
    • Around 13% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people consumed fruit and vegetable drinks, with consumption higher among children.
       
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    1. On the day prior to interview.

    Looking ahead

    This analysis indicates that while two out of every five Australians consumed Sweetened beverages on any given day, there has been a decline in consumption over the past two decades. However, Sweetened beverages remain a prevalent feature in the diets of many Australians, particularly for males, people from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    Further information on Australian's consumption of added sugar will be published in March 2016. This publication will present information on the usual intake of added sugars, including how much is consumed and from which food sources.

    Data sources and interpretation of results

    This article presents information on the consumption of Sweetened beverages among Australians aged 2 years and over, using data from the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS), the 2012-13 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NATSINPAS), and the 1995 National Nutrition Survey (NNS).

    These surveys collected three different types of dietary data:

    • 24-hour dietary recall of food, beverages and supplements (on two separate days)
    • usual dietary behaviours
    • whether currently on a diet and for what reason.


    The information in this publication is based on the first day of the 24-hour dietary recall. The 24-hour dietary recall questionnaire collected detailed information on all foods and beverages consumed on the day prior to interview, from midnight to midnight. Information collected included the time of consumption, the name of the eating occasion (e.g. breakfast), detailed food descriptions to allow for accurate food coding, and the amount eaten. The purpose of the 24-hour dietary data collection is to estimate total intake of food, beverages, food energy, nutrients and non-nutrient food components consumed by the Australian population, to assess dietary behaviours and the relationship between diet and health. For more information about the 24-hour dietary recall, see the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-12 and the National Nutrition Survey: User's Guide, 1995.

    Young children were encouraged to assist in answering the 24-hour dietary recall questions. See the Interviews section of Data collection for more information on proxy use in the 24-hour dietary recall module.

    Under-reporting

    To assist in the interpretation of data from the 2011-12 NNPAS and particularly in comparisons with the 1995 National Nutrition Survey (NNS), there are a few key points that should be noted.

    • It is likely that under-reporting is present in both surveys.
    • There appears to be an increase in the level of under-reporting for males between 1995 and 2011-12.
    • The level of under-reporting by female respondents also appears to have increased, but to a lesser extent than for males.
    • In order to achieve an EI:BMR ratio of 1.55 which is the amount required for a normally active but sedentary population, for the 2011-12 NNPAS an increase in mean energy intake of 17% for males and 21% for females is required and for the 1995 NNS, 1% for males and 16% for females and greater increases are required for overweight and obese people than those of normal weight.
    • Given the association of under-reporting with overweight/obesity and consciousness of socially acceptable/desirable dietary patterns, under-reporting is unlikely to affect all foods and nutrients equally.
       

    Considerable analysis has been conducted to understand the impact under-reporting might have had on the results from the two surveys and is documented fully in the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-12 (cat no. 4364.0.55.001).

    For information on under-reporting in the NATSINPAS see the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2012-13 (cat. no. 4727.0.55.002).

    Comparability

    For information on comparability between surveys, please see the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001) and the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2012-13 (cat. no. 4727.0.55.002).

    Calculation of volume of beverages consumed

    Amounts of all foods and beverages recorded in the NNPAS and NATSINPAS were required to be converted in grams in order to calculate nutrient values. To calculate gram amounts for the many different ways of food and beverage portions that may be reported, FSANZ developed a Food Measures Database. In the case of beverages, volumes were effectively multiplied by densities (g per ml) to derive gram weights. Therefore, the volumes of beverages consumed may be calculated by dividing the gram weight by the relevant density for that beverage. For more information about food measure and coding, please see the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001).

    Usual nutrient intakes

    For national level information about the usual intake of selected nutrients by the Australian population, see Australian Health Survey: Usual Nutrient Intakes, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.008).

    Endnotes

    1. Department of Health, 2008, Nutrition and Healthy Eating, http://health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-food-index.htm, Last accessed 30/09/2015.
    2. Marriot, BP, Olsho, L, Hadden, L, & Connor, P. 2010. Intake of Added Sugars and Selected Nutrients in the United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2006. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 50, 228-258.
    3. NHMRC, 2013, Australian Dietary Guidelines,https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/n55, Last accessed 30/09/2015.
    4. Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA), 2014, Obesity: Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, Obesity and Health, http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/public-health/menzies-health-policy/publications/Evidence_Brief_Sugar_sweetened_Beverages_Obesity_Health.PDF
    5. Malik VS, Pan A, Willett WC, Hu FB. 2013. Sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain in children and adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 98(4):1084-102.
    6. New Zealand Beverage Guidance Panel, 2014. Policy brief: options to reduce sugar sweetened beverage consumption in New Zealand, https://ana.org.nz/, Last accessed 30/09/2015.
    7. Te Morenga L, Mallard S, Mann J. 2013. Dietary sugars and body weight: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials and cohort studies. BMJ. 346:e7492.
    8. Vartanian LR, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD. 2007. Effects of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Public Health,97(4):667–75.
    9. World Health Organization (WHO), 2014. Reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to reduce the risk of childhood overweight and obesity. Geneva: WHO. http://www.who.int/elena/titles/ssbs_childhood_obesity/en/, Last accessed 30/09/2015.
    10. Beverage Digest, September 22, 2006. The green sheet - 2005 all-channel carbonated soft drink corporate shares in 95 countries. http://www.dumpsoda.org/
    11. Australian Beverages Council, 100% Fruit juice and fruit drinks. https://www.australianbeverages.org/beverages/juice-juice-drinks/
    12. Macdiarmid J and Blundell J 1998, ‘Assessing dietary intake: Who, what and why of under-reporting’, Nutrition Research Reviews, 11, pp 231-253. doi:10.1079/NRR19980017, Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19094249
    13. One level teaspoon of white sugar weighs 4.2 grams. Source: Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2013, Food Measures Database, http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoringnutrients/ausnut/foodmeasures/Pages/default.aspx
    14. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012, Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-12, cat. no. 4364.0.55.001, ABS, Canberra.

    Under-reporting

    Show all

    Of particular importance to nutrition surveys is a widely observed tendency for people to under-report their food intake. This can include:

    • actual changes in foods eaten because people know they will be participating in the survey
    • misrepresentation (deliberate, unconscious or accidental), e.g. to make their diets appear more ‘healthy’ or be quicker to report.


    In order to assist in the interpretation of data from the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) and particularly in comparisons with the 1995 National Nutrition Survey ( NNS), Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) analysed the potential under-reporting prevalence in different population sub-groups and estimated how much energy might be missing from the food recall data. See details in Under-reporting in Nutrition Surveys in the Australian Health Survey (AHS) Users' Guide.

    In summary, the analysis suggests that:

    • It is likely that under-reporting is present in both surveys.
    • There appears to be an increase in the level under-reporting for males between 1995 and 2011-12, especially for males aged 9 - 50.
    • The level of under-reporting by female respondents also appears to have increased, but to a lesser extent than for males.
    • In order to achieve an Energy Intake to Basal Metabolic Rate Ratio (EI:BMR) ratio of 1.55 which is the amount required for a normally active but not sedentary population, an increase in mean energy intake of 17% for males and 21% for females is required and greater increases are required for overweight and obese people than those of normal weight.
    • Given the association of under-reporting with overweight/obesity and consciousness of socially acceptable/desirable dietary patterns, under-reporting is unlikely to affect all foods and nutrients equally.
       

    There is still further work that can be conducted in this area. In particular, the investigation into the impact of under-reporting on the change in consumption patterns of different foods can be expanded.

    Data downloads

    Table 1: Mean daily energy and nutrient intake

    Table 2: Mean contribution to energy intake: protein, fat, carbohydrate, dietary fibre and alcohol

    Table 3: Nutrient density: mean nutrient intake per 1,000 kJ

    Table 4: Proportion of persons consuming foods

    Table 5: Mean daily food intake

    Table 6: Median amount of foods consumed

    Table 7: Mean daily energy from food groups

    Table 8: Proportion of energy from food groups

    Table 9: Proportion of energy from discretionary foods

    Table 10: Proportion of nutrients from food groups

    Table 11: Supplement consumption

    Table 12: How often salt is used in household for cooking or preparing food then how often salt is added to food at the table and whether salt used is iodised

    Table 13: Whether currently on a diet and type of diet

    Table 14: Food avoidance due to allergies or intolerances then type of food avoidance for cultural, religious or ethical reasons

    1995 Table 15: Mean daily energy and nutrient intake

    1995 Table 16: Mean contribution to energy intake: protein, fat, carbohydrate, fibre and alcohol

    1995 Table 17: Nutrient density: mean nutrient intake per 1,000 kJ

    Table of contents

    Table 18: Consumption of sweetened beverages

    All data cubes

    History of changes

    Show all

    30/10/2015 - Consumption of Sweetened Beverages graphs were updated to correct axis labelling. Data cubes were updated to correct formatting in Table 18. These corrections do not affect data in any graphs or tables.

    19/10/2015 - Table of Contents was updated to correct broken URLs. This correction does not affect data in any tables.

    16/10/2015 - New chapter 'Consumption of Sweetened Beverages' and new data cube 'Table 18: Consumption of Sweetened Beverages' added. Analysis in this chapter provides information on the consumption of sweetened beverages among Australians aged 2 years and over based on consumption reported on Day 1 intake of the 24-hour food recall in the survey.

    27/04/2015 - Amendment made to release schedule page to direct users to the release schedules in the AATSIHS and AHS Users' Guide.

    01/07/2014 - Updates were made to the first release of Nutrition results from the 2011-13 Australian Health Survey with additional data for the 2-18 years age group included in the datacubes. A further update is the inclusion of a pdf summary of the publication available from the Data downloads section.

    12/05/2014 - Data cubes were updated to correct broken URLs. This correction does not affect data in any tables.

    About the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey

    This publication is one of several ABS releases of results from the 2011-13 Australian Health Survey (AHS). The AHS is the largest, most comprehensive health survey ever conducted in Australia. It combines the existing ABS National Health Survey (NHS) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey together with two new elements - a National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) and a National Health Measures Survey (NHMS).

    This publication is the first release of nutrition data from the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS). It presents results from a 24-hour dietary recall of food, beverages and dietary supplements, as well as some general information on dietary behaviours. Future releases will focus on usual intakes of nutrients including comparisons against nutrient reference values where relevant.

    The 2011–13 Australian Health Survey (AHS) is the largest and most comprehensive health survey ever conducted in Australia. The survey, conducted throughout Australia, collected a range of information about health related issues, including health status, risk factors, health service usage and medications. In 2011–13, the AHS incorporated the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS). It involved the collection of detailed physical activity information using self-reported and pedometer collection methods, along with detailed information on dietary intake and foods consumed from over 12,000 participants across Australia. The nutrition component is the first national nutrition survey of adults and children (aged 2 years and over) conducted in over 15 years.

    The AHS sample included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people where they were randomly selected in the general population. The AHS also included an additional representative sample of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NATSINPAS) will provide nutrition and physical activity results for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the population level and provides an opportunity to compare results with the non-Indigenous population. Results for the NATSINPAS will be released in the first half of 2015.

    Information for the nutrition component of the NNPAS was gathered using a 24-hour dietary recall on all foods and beverages consumed on the day prior to the interview. Where possible, at least 8 days after the first interview, respondents were contacted to participate in a second 24-hour dietary recall via telephone interview. This publication is the first release of information from the nutrition component of the NNPAS. It presents results from the first interview, with information on food, beverages and dietary supplements, as well as some general information on dietary behaviours.

    The NNPAS has been made possible by additional funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing as well as the National Heart Foundation of Australia, and the contributions of these two organisations to improving health information in Australia through quality statistics are greatly valued.

    The 2011–13 AHS, and particularly the NNPAS component, was developed with the assistance of several advisory groups and expert panels. Members of these groups were drawn from Commonwealth and state/territory government agencies, non-government organisations, relevant academic institutions and clinicians. The valuable contributions made by members of these groups are greatly appreciated.

    Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ ) was contracted to provide advice throughout the survey development, processing and collection phases of the 2011-12 NNPAS and to provide a nutrient database for the coding of foods and supplements consumed. The ABS would like to acknowledge and thank FSANZ for providing their support, advice and expertise to the 2011-12 NNPAS.

    The ABS gratefully acknowledges and thanks the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA for giving permission to adapt and use their Dietary Intake Data System including the AMPM for collecting dietary intake information as well as other processing systems and associated materials.

    Finally, the success of the 2011–13 AHS was dependent on the very high level of cooperation received from the Australian public. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the range of statistics published by the ABS would not be possible. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

    The structure of the Australian Health Survey

    The following diagram shows how the various elements combine to provide comprehensive health information for the overall Australian population. The content for each component survey is listed along with the ages of respondents for which topics were collected.

    Structure of the 2011-13 Australian Health Survey

    Venn type diagram showing the components and content of the Australian Health Survey.

    Structure of the 2011-13 Australian Health Survey

    A Venn diagram like image showing the components, flow and content of the Australian Health Survey (AHS). The Venn diagram comprises of 4 components:

    The first component relates to the centre circle with arrows pointing left and right. This circle provides information on the AHS Core Content. During this part of the survey, a total of 25,000 households and 32,000 persons were surveyed based on: Household information, Demographics, Self-assessed health status (persons who were 15 years or over were counted), Self-assessed body mass (persons who were 15 years or over were counted), Smoking (persons who were 15 years or over were counted), Physical measures (including: height, weight, waist and Body Mass Index), Physical activity (persons who were 18 years or over were counted), Dietary behaviours blood pressure (persons who were 5 years or over were counted), Female life stage (persons who were 10 years or over were counted), and Selected conditions.

    The second component relates to the left arrow, where it provides information on the 15,500 households who were surveyed during the National Health Survey (NHS). A total of 20,500 persons were surveyed based on: Detailed conditions, Medication and supplements, Health related actions, Days of reduced activity, Social and emotional wellbeing (persons who were 18 years or over were counted), Physical activity (persons who were 15 years or over were counted), Private health insurance status (persons who were 18 years or over were counted), Breastfeeding (persons who were between the age of 0-3 were counted), Disability status, Alcohol consumption (persons who were 15 years or over were counted), Family stressors (persons who were over 15 years or over were counted), Personal income persons who were 15 years or over were counted), and financial stress. From this component, there is a black arrow which points to the fourth, and final component.

    The third component relates to the right arrow, where it provides information on the 9,500 households who were surveyed during the National Nutrition Activity Survey (NNPAS). A total of 12,000 persons were surveyed based on: Food security, Food avoidance, Dietary recall, and Physical activity. This component also includes a box within this square, which provides information on the NNPAS telephone follow-up comprising of: 2nd dietary recall, and 8-day pedometer (persons who were 5 years or over were counted). From this component, there is a black arrow which points to the fourth, and final component.

    The final component relates to the green box which the second and third component refer to. This component relates to the information obtained from the 11,000 persons, who were 5 years or older, surveyed during the National Health Measures Survey (NHMS). The 11,000 volunteers were surveyed based on: Key blood tests (persons who were 12 years or older were counted) and urine tests (persons who were 5 years or older were counted) of nutritional status and chronic disease markers.

    As shown in the above diagram, the AHS is made up of 3 components:

    • the National Health Survey (NHS)
    • the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS)
    • the National Health Measures Survey (NHMS).
       

    All people selected in the AHS were selected in either the NHS or the NNPAS, however data items in the core were common to both surveys and therefore information for these data items is available for all persons in the AHS. All people were then invited to participate in the voluntary NHMS.

    As indicated in the diagram, 20,500 people participated in the NHS, answering questions about items such as detailed health conditions, health risk factors and medications as well as all items in the core content. For the NHS component (those items collected only in the NHS and not the core), the sample size is similar to that of previous National Health Surveys and therefore the results are comparable. However for those items collected in the core, the sample size (32, 000 people) is approximately 1.5 times that in the past and therefore the estimates for core items such as smoking and Body Mass Index are expected to be more accurate in particular at finer disaggregations than in previous surveys.

    Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

    The AHS does not exclude Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people where they are randomly selected in the general population sample. However, the AHS also includes an additional representative sample of around 13,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for which first results were released in November 2013. This is a separate collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote and non-remote areas, including discrete communities. The structure is the same as outlined above, comprised of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey component, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity component and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey component.

    Release schedule

    Results from the Australian Health Survey have been released progressively from October 2012 and will continue into 2015. Please see the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001) and the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2012-13 (cat. no .4727.0.55.002) for more information on the release schedule.

    Previous catalogue number

    This release previously used catalogue number 4364.0.55.007.