By Jessica Donaldson
A report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says Australians eat fewer vegetables and cereals than the world average and eat more food, on average, that is high in sweeteners, milk and animal fats.
A huge 90 per cent of people over the age of 16 regularly fail to consume the recommended five portions a day of vegetables and fruit. Australians are also drinking more than three times the world average when it comes to alcohol.
The report says that more money is spent on average on takeaway meals than any other food type, across all income groups.
In 2009/10 $389 was spent on food and drink per week by those in high-income households, which equates to 18 per cent of total household income, while low-income households spent $113 per week, or 20 per cent of total household income.
Lisa McGlynn, a spokesperson for the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, says “It can cost less to feed a family on food from some of the fast-food outlets than it can to feed a family on some of the foods that would be considered to be appropriate and what experts recommend a family eat.’’
And with ‘treats’ – chips, biscuits, cakes, soft drinks, alcohol etc – making up more than 35 per cent of the daily energy intake for adults, and over 40 per cent of the daily energy intake for children, it’s easy to see why Australia is 5th on the list of all OECD countries for the proportion of the population that is obese.
Recent figures show that in Australia one quarter of all adults, and one in every 12 children aged between five years and 12 years, are defined as being obese. McGlynn says ‘That’s about three million (obese) people aged over five’. And these worrying figures show no sign of slowing in the near future.