New report reveals a third of Australians’ energy intake is from junk food

Government figures show children, teenagers and adults are all guilty

A report recently released by The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) outlines the health and nutrition average of Australians. The results revealed that all age groups are guilty of turning to junk foods for their daily energy intakes and as a result, the majority aren’t getting the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables.

Here are the facts you need to know.

The findings

The AIHW report revealed about a third of Australian’s energy intake comes from discretionary foods which, as classified by the Australian Dietary Guidelines, are high energy foods “not necessary to provide the nutrients the body needs.”

The age group with the highest discretionary food intake is teenagers, with 41% of their energy intake coming from these foods.

The government report also divulged which discretionary foods Australians consumed over different age brackets. For example, children would typically eat more cakes, muffins and ice-creams where as adults would consume more alcohol. So much so, that alcohol formed one fifth of discretionary consumption for adults in the 51-70 age bracket.

Adults are also not eating enough fruit and vegetables as part of their daily diet, with only 1 in 10 adults eating the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. Even worse, 99% of Australians aged 2-18 aren’t getting enough vegetables.

Yet, Australian diets are improving

AIHW spokesperson Claire Sparke said Australians are “generally getting enough of the nutrients we need” and since the 1995 National Nutrition Survey, our diets have slightly improved.

“We’ve…seen a general decrease in the contribution of added sugars and fat to our energy intake, as well as a fall in how much discretionary food we’re eating,” she said.

The experts at House Call Doctoradvise that to eat healthily, it’s best to have two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day.

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