Aussie diet’s a “shocker” according to new study

Australian’s eating habits have been slammed, with too much junk food and not enough veggies – according to a new survey by the CSIRO.

The 2016 CSIRO Healthy Diet Score report, released earlier today, is the largest ever diet survey, with 85,000 adults across Australia canvassed over a 12-month period.

The nation’s diet received a score of 59 out of 100, following an early snapshot of the survey results in August 2015, which has dropped to 59 after an additional 47,000 were completed.


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“We have an image of being fit and healthy, but with a collective diet score of 59/100 that image could be very different unless we act now,” CSIRO Research Director and co-author of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, Professor Manny Noakes says.

80 per cent of survey respondents received an individual score below 70 – which Professor Noakes believe could be lifted with small lifestyle changes.

“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.

“If we can raise our collective score by just over 10 points, we help Australia mitigate against the growing rates of obesity and lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and a third of all cancers,” she said.

Junk Food consumption is believed to be of the biggest concern, with only 1 per cent of Aussies abstaining from it, and more than one third eating more than the recommended allowance.

The CSIRO does worry that these figures are not likely to be accurate though, as people tend to lie in their entries.

“We find that there is often a tendency to under-report on certain types of food, so in all likelihood that figure is even higher,” Professor Noakes said.

Fruit seems to be less of a concern for us, however, as 49 per cent of respondents meet the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommended intake.

The online survey invited people from all occupations and age groups to participate, over one year between May 2015 and June 2016.

It showed that women have better nutritional levels  at 60 out of 100, than men at 56 out of 100.

Construction workers have indicated to have the poorest of diets, while real estate agents, public servants and health industry workers have some of the healthiest.

Food avoidance is also on the rise, with one in three Aussies avoiding one or more food groups such as gluten, dairy or meat.

The CSIRO is encouraging people the undertake The Healthy Diet Score online, for free to evalute their own habits as well as identifying areas of improvement.

“We encourage people to take the test regularly to ensure they are improving their eating behaviour and overall health and wellbeing,” Professor Noakes said.

“It is never too late to eat better and increase your score, and the nation’s.”

For more information, or to take the free CSIRO Healthy Diet Score, please visit www.csirodietscore.com

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