Aboriginals and Torres Strait islanders fail to meet dietary norms

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags: Nutrition

Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders are not consuming enough of the five major food groups and too much sugar and other discretionary foods, according to figures released by Australia’s official statistics office.

Like the rest of the population, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ diets fail to meet the country’s dietary guidelines, which recommend minimum serves for vegetables, fruit, dairy products, lean meats and alternatives, and grain-based foods. 

Louise Gates, director of health at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, said the latest results showed Aboriginal and Torres Strait adults consumed an average of 2.1 servings of vegetables per day, which is less than half of the 5-6 serves recommended by the guidelines.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults consumedalmost one serve—or 30%—fewer vegetables than non-Indigenous people​," said Gates.

"They also consume just one serve of fruit on average—half the recommended two servings per day​.”

Those in remote areas also on average consume less than one serve of dairy products, though they do take around half a serve more of grain foods and lean meats and alternatives than people living in urban areas.

"The data also show that 41% of the population’s total daily energy intake comes from energy-dense, nutrient-poor ‘discretionary foods’, such as sweetened beverages, alcohol, cakes, confectionery and pastry products​," said Gates. 

On average, this equates to over six serves of discretionary foods per day—triple the number of vegetable serves consumed. 

The Australian dietary guidelines recommend limiting discretionary foods to occasional, small amounts.

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