Poor diet of Australian youth revealed, ABS report

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 26th May 2014
Soft drinks, burgers and chips are the diet of Australia's youth, according to ABS findings

Teenagers and young adults consume more soft drinks, burgers and chips than any other age group according to a report released recently by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The first detailed information on Australia’s eating habits available in 15 years, results released from the Australian Health Survey showed 51 per cent of teenage males (aged 14-18 years) and 44 per cent of young adult males (aged 19-30 years) had consumed soft drink on the day prior to interview. This is compared to under 30 per cent for the rest of the population.

“These results show that on a typical day in Australia, one in four teenage males consume a burger compared with around only one in 14 for the whole population,” said Louise Gates, ABS Director of Health Statistics. “One in five males in this age range also consume chips compared with only one in seven across the whole population,” she said.

Australian Food News reported last week that the results of the ABS Australian Health Survey revealed the makeup of Australians’ diets, with the levels of cake and treat consumption causing some concern for health group the National Heart Foundation.

Low fruit and veg consumption among young people

The report also recorded that rates of consumption of fruit and vegetables for teenagers and young adults were relatively low. Ms Gates said that across these age groups, around 40 per cent of males and 50 per cent of females consumed fruit compared with 60 per cent for the whole population.

“While just under three quarters of teenagers and young adults consumed vegetables on the day prior to interview, almost half of this consumption was potatoes (including chips) for both teenage males and females,” Ms Gates said.

“However, we did find that teenagers and young adults are not the nation’s biggest coffee drinkers,” Ms Gates said. “While nearly one in two Australians overall drank coffee on the day prior to the interview, only one in seven teenagers and one in three young adults consumed coffee,” she said.

Australians on a diet

Other results from the survey included that just over 2.3 million Australians aged 15 years and over reported being on a diet to lose weight or for some other health reason. Being on a diet was most prevalent among 51-70 year olds where 19 per cent of females and 15 per cent of males were on a diet.

Additionally, 3.7 million people reported avoiding a food due to allergy or intolerance. The most common type of food reported as causing intolerance was cow’s milk followed by gluten.