Johnny – eat ALL your fruit and vegetables!

Remember being told you couldn’t leave the dinner table to watch TV until you ate all the vegetables? How many episodes of Star Trek went begging as cold broccoli and mash congealed on the dinner plate!

It seems turning our back on healthy eating persists to this day. Simply, Australians don't buy enough fruit or vegetables but buy too much food that is high in salt.

Those people at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have measured what we buy and consume from supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience and specialty stores.

A major finding is the significant disconnect between buying and consuming and the recommendations of the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. On every measure we’re not eating enough fruit and vegetables – the daily consumption of fruit was below the recommended average two serves a day, at 1.5 serves per person. And vegetables also were well below the recommended average five serves per day, at just 2.3 serves. 

Meanwhile, per person we’re eating 1.6 times the recommended daily intake salt, which can increase blood pressure and lead to heart and kidney disease. Sadly, salt is difficult to avoid as it, and sugars, are part and parcel of processed food and are also found naturally in a variety of food products

Did you know?

Most salt in our diets comes from the table shaker but also from stocks and seasonings, followed by regular breads and bread rolls, processed meat, gravies and savoury sauces and cheese. Yes, sadly, all those tasty things!

National Seniors survey

We asked members about their eating and exercise habits and it turns out seniors do better than most Australians. While these figures look ok, consider the percentages of seniors NOT eating well: 64 per cent of women and 59 per cent of men met healthy guidelines. When it comes to eating your veggies 22 per cent of women ate enough compared to just 14 per cent of men and as for eating sufficient fruit and vegetables then the figures don’t look too good: just 17 per cent of women and a dismal 11 per cent of men eat enough regularly.

Barriers to eating well

You might think chronic pain, disability and health issues were to blame for not eating and exercising well, and while they are contributing factors, the biggest reason was lack of motivation followed by the expense of fresh food.

National Seniors wants older Australians to boost their health. To help you, here are some great tips and healthy living information.

More surprising ABS findings

We love eating in Winter, right? Not so - the average consumption of all foods was higher during the summer (1,622 grams) than winter months (1,476 grams), with non-alcoholic beverages the highest in the summer months due to a peak in the purchase of soft drinks over the festive season.

Overall, in 2018–19 an estimated 14.1 million tonnes of foods and non-alcoholic beverages were purchased and the total dietary energy available from this food averaged 8,770 kJ per person per day. Most of that comes from less healthy food such as confectionary, biscuits, pastries, processed meat, sugary drinks and snack foods. These so-called discretionary foods made up 38.2 per cent of the total dietary energy available.

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