A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has highlighted alarming findings about the average Australians’ diet.
The report Nutrition across the life stages, which was released last month, found that nearly all Australians aged two to 18 were not eating enough vegetables, while one-third of all Australians got their daily energy from discretionary foods high in sugar, salt and fat – that were low in nutrients.
The report also showed that the rate of obese and overweight Australians was high, while physical activity was low.
A Black Swan Health spokeswoman said the report was concerning, particularly the effects it could have on children.
“Areas of concern include a low consumption of vegetables, particularly among children, and lower than recommended intake of fruit, grains and dairy among most adults,” she said.
“Alarmingly the report showed that for teenager’s discretionary food accounted for 40 per cent of their daily energy intake.”
She said consuming a bad diet could lead to several health issues.
“There are many consequences of consuming a poor diet. Short term effects can include poor concentration, tiredness, low energy levels and tooth decay,” she said.
“The long-term effects are the development of chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, some cancers, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.”
Read the full report here
Here are some tips for a healthy and balanced diet:
-Follow the food group guidelines outlined in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
-When consuming fruits and vegetables aim for a rainbow colour
-Consume grains and cereals that are high in fibre e.g. wholegrains
-Select cuts of meat that are low in fat and try to consume non-meat sources of protein e.g. beans and lentils
-Choose dairy products that are low in fat
-Drink plenty of water
-Remember discretionary food should be consumed on an occasional basis, not every day