CSIRO Report Reveals Low Vegetable Intake and Dominance of Junk Food and Alcohol in Australian Diets

by Ella

A new report by the CSIRO has shed light on the eating habits of Australians, showing that only two in five are consuming an adequate amount of vegetables, while junk food and alcohol are prominent components of many diets.

The report discovered that merely 35 percent of the population is meeting the recommended vegetable intake, with alcoholic beverages, takeaway food, and confectionery frequently making up a substantial portion of their diets.


Notably, construction workers displayed the poorest dietary habits, while retirees and individuals in the fitness industry demonstrated healthier eating patterns.


The study assessed nine factors, including the quantity, quality, and variety of foods consumed, and evaluated compliance with the Australian Dietary Guidelines on a scale of 0 to 100, with a higher score indicating a healthier diet. The average diet score among those surveyed was 55 out of 100.


Co-author of the report, Gilly Hendrie, emphasized the need for dietary improvements, stating, “The score is a stark reminder of the work that needs to be done to improve our eating habits and reduce the national waistline.”


Dietary Habits Overview

Discretionary foods, including alcohol, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, confectionery, and takeaway items, were identified as the lowest-scoring aspect of diet quality, with an average score of 20 out of 100.

In contrast, beverages received the highest score, with respondents earning an average of 93 out of 100. This achievement was primarily attributed to choosing water over sugary soft drinks and juices.

Regarding vegetable consumption, the average score was 58 out of 100, with only four out of 10 adults reporting that they incorporate three or more different vegetables into their main meal—a key indicator of a healthy diet.

While women exhibited slightly better diet quality than men, they notably had a higher intake of vegetables.

Addressing the Issue

Lauren Ball, a professor of Community Health and Wellbeing at the University of Queensland, noted that the findings were unsurprising given the known dietary trends in Australia.

She recommended prioritizing fresh produce and avoiding processed foods as straightforward measures to enhance diets. Professor Ball emphasized the importance of vegetables and fruits as staples in daily nutrition.

Professor Ball also stressed that maintaining a healthy diet could be budget-friendly by selecting in-season fruits and vegetables when they are abundant and affordable. She suggested visiting farmers’ markets as an option and encouraged planning ahead as a money-saving strategy.

Additionally, Professor Ball underscored the value of prioritizing health, stating that health and well-being have become increasingly vital indicators of overall prosperity in modern society. Taking steps to support personal health should be a top priority for everyone.



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