In its last study, four years ago, Roy Morgan Research found that 38.3% Australians over the age of 14 said they were concerned about their cholesterol levels, whereas 34.8% saw a low-fat diet as a way of life.
However, in the year to June 2014, the market research agency discovered that cholesterol concerns had dropped by more than four percentage points, with 34.1% of respondents saying they took an active interest in their cholesterol intake. Meanwhile, the proportion living a low fat life now sits a little higher at 35.0%.
Men trailing women
Over the same period, the proportion of Australians who agreed that they “try to buy additive free food” has grown steadily from 45.6% to 48.4%.
Men trail women when it comes to trying to reduce intake of fat and additives, so it’s perhaps no surprise they are more likely to be concerned about their cholesterol levels.
This year, well over half of women said they try to buy additive free food—14% points clear of men, at just 41.3%. At the same time, almost 40% of women said they live a low-fat life, whereas the same applies for just 31% of men.
In balance, Aussie men are over 17% more likely than women to be concerned about their cholesterol levels, with 36.8% agreeing, compared with 31.4% of women.
Hoping for the best
Norman Morris of Roy Morgan Research said he hoped the trend was shaping for the right reasons.
He said: “Australians are clearly becoming more mindful of what they put in their mouths, with an increasing number choosing to avoid foods with excessive fat content or additives.
“We would therefore hope that the decreasing national concern with cholesterol is indeed a consequence of such dietary changes rather than a tendency toward apathy.
“Whether trended over time or broken down into demographic segments, these attitudes can provide businesses with valuable insights into the core beliefs that drive behaviour.”