New study shows Aussie parents unsure what “healthy” food is

Experts say Australian parents are at a loss over what constitutes healthy or unhealthy food, with more mums and dads giving their kids “treat foods”.

The latest research from the Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll says parents are struggling to decipher labels and ingredients.

Dr Anthea Rhodes told the Herald Sun high-fat, high-sugar foods harm the development of children’s brains and bodies.


“It’s not all about parents being too lazy or kids being too fussy, this is showing us that it’s actually really challenging to form healthy habits,” she said.

The Survey found the that:

  • A quarter of parents think fruit drinks are healthier than water;
  • Almost half of pre-schoolers have treat foods almost every day.
  • More than nine out of 10 school-aged kids don’t eat the recommended daily serve of vegetables

RCH National Child Health Poll facts

  •  Kids typically need five serves of vegetables daily and two serves of fruit.
  • While 70% of kids eat enough fruit, just 12% of children get enough veggies.
  •  A third of parents say their child refuses to eat fruit or vegetables, 27% say their kids prefer other foods and 11% say fresh produce perishes too quickly.
  •  Just over a third of kids regularly consume sugary drinks, mostly at home. These should be “sometimes” foods.
  • More than half of parent incorrectly believe that treats every day are fine as part of a balanced diet.