The findings of the largest diet survey in Australia released on Sept. 26 reveal that majority of Australia’s diets are below the accepted level. The 2016 Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Healthy Diet Score states that the below-par eating habits should be blamed on the consumption of junk foods.
More than one-third of 86,500 adults studied say they eat more than the recommended amount of alcohol, cake, biscuits, sweet drinks and other confectionaries. This led to Australia’s diet score to drop down to 59/100, whereas the survey results released in August 2015 gave the country a diet score of 61/100, indicating that the country’s diets are getting worse than previously thought.
“If we can raise our collective score by just over 10 points, we help Australia mitigate the growing rates of obesity and lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and a third of all cancers,” says Manny Noakes, CSIRO Research Director and co-author of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet. “All people need to do is halve the bad and double the good. In other words, halve the amount of discretionary food you eat and double your vegetable intake.”
These respondents from all professions and age groups were recruited from all over Australia. They had to answer an online survey between May of last year and June 2016.
Overall, only 49 percent of the participants met the recommended dietary intake by the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Meanwhile, only one percent of Australians avoid junk food.
Construction workers have the worst diets among all occupations. On the other hand, health industry workers, real estate agents and public servants have the healthiest dietary habit.
Only one in three Australian adults avoids foods like gluten, dairy or meat. Women were found to have better nutritional levels than men, with scores of 60 and 56/100, respectively.
Noakes says that it is not too late to improve the nation’s score. The study recommends improving one’s eating behavior to improve overall health and wellbeing.