HealthStats NSW

  • + Key points: Nutrition

    Latest available information

    Latest available data for adults in NSW

    • 48.4% of adults aged 16 years and over (44.1% of men and 52.6% of women) consumed 2 or more serves of fruit daily and 5.8% of adults aged 16 years and over (2.7% of men and 8.8% of women) consumed at least the minimum recommended number of serves of vegetables daily, as estimated from the 2015 NSW Population Health Survey (self-reported using Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing or CATI). The recommended number of serves of vegetables is 5 or more each day for females aged 16 years and over and males aged over 70 years, 6 serves or more daily for males aged 19 to 50 years and 5.5 serves or more daily for all other adult males.   

    • 49.2% of adults aged 18 years and over (43.1% of men and 55.6% of women) consumed 2 or more serves of fruit and 6.1% of adults aged 18 years and over (3.5% of men and 8.7% of women) consumed the recommended intake of vegetables, as estimated from the 2014-15 Australian Health Survey (self-reported using Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing or CAPI).

    Latest available data for secondary school students in NSW

    • 77.7% of students aged 12-17 years (76.0% of boys and 79.4% of girls) consumed the recommended daily fruit intake and 9.9% of students aged 12-17 years (10.5% of boys and 9.4% of girls) consumed the recommended daily vegetable intake, as estimated from the 2014 NSW School Students Health Behaviours Survey (self-completed questionnaire).

    Latest available data for children in NSW

    • 68.8% of children aged 2-15 years (70.2% of boys and 67.3% of girls) consumed the recommended daily fruit intake and 7.7% of children aged 2-15 years (6.3% of boys and 9.2% of girls) consumed the recommended daily intake of vegetables, as estimated from the 2014-2015 NSW Population Health Survey (parent-reported using CATI).

    Latest available data for adult Aboriginal persons in NSW

    • 47.0% of Aboriginal adults aged 16 years and over consumed 2 or more serves of fruit daily and 7.2% of Aboriginal adults aged 16 years and over consumed the recommended number of serves of vegetables daily, as estimated from the 2015 NSW Population Health Survey (self-reported using Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing or CATI).

    Overall trends in NSW

    Self-reported data on fruit and vegetable consumption have been collected for adults in NSW since 1997 through the NSW Population Health Survey, since 1977-78 through the National  Health Survey and from 2011 through the Australian Health Survey.

    Self-reported data on fruit and vegetable consumption have been collected for students in NSW since 2005 through the NSW School Students Health Behaviours Survey.

    Parent-reported data on fruit and vegetable consumption have been collected for children in NSW since 2007 through the NSW Population Health Survey. Although serves of fruit and vegetable are collected on children through the Australian Health Survey, whether they are meeting the recommended daily intake is not routinely reported.

    Prevalence estimates, although differing slightly between surveys because of different sampling frames, participation rates and modes of collection (telephone versus self-completed questionnaires versus face-to-face personal interview) have all been increasing over time for recommended fruit intake and recommended vegetables intake in children. In secondary school students and adults, recommended vegetables intake has remained the same.

    References

    Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health. NSW Adult Population Health Survey. Available at: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/publichealth/surveys/index.asp

    Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey: First Results (4364.0); NSW Tables, 2014-15. Available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4364.0.55.0012014-15?OpenDocument

    Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health. NSW School Students Health Behaviours Survey. Available at: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/publichealth/surveys/index.asp

    Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health. NSW Child Population Health Survey. Available at: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/publichealth/surveys/index.asp

  • + Background: Nutrition

    Fruit and vegetable consumption as a health risk factor

    Fruit and vegetable consumption is strongly linked to the prevention of chronic disease and to better health. Vegetables and fruit are sources of antioxidants, fibre, folate, and complex carbohydrates. The fibre and low-energy content of fruit and vegetables may benefit weight control. 

    Healthy eating is important at any age, but establishing healthy eating habits in childhood and adolescence is an important basis for long term health. Although an adequate intake of fruit and vegetables has a protective influence on health but most population groups eat less than the recommended amounts of these foods.

     Definition of adequate consumption of fruit and vegetables

    As nutritional needs differ at different stages of life, the National Health and Medical Research Council has developed dietary guidelines for babies, children, adolescents and adults in Australia. A guide for healthy eating supports these guidelines.

    For adults, the dietary guidelines recommend consuming on average at least 2 helpings of fruit and 5 of vegetables each day, selected from a wide variety of types and colours and served cooked or raw, as appropriate.

    For children aged 4-7 years, the dietary guidelines recommend daily consumption of at least 1 serving of fruit and 2 of vegetables; children 8-11 years should eat 1 serving of fruit and 3 of vegetables for children; and adolescents (12-18 years) should consume 3 servings of fruit and 4 of vegetables.

    The guidelines do not provide recommendations for children aged 2-3 years and the NSW Health Survey applied the recommendations for 4-7 year olds in the analysis of survey results however these intake levels could be too high a target for the very young children.

    The helpings or serves are defined as follows: 1 serve of vegetables is equivalent to 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of salad vegetables, and 1 serve of fruit is equivalent to serve is equivalent to 1 medium piece or 2 small pieces of fruit.

    Burden of disease in Australia due to low consumption of fruit and vegetables

    Inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption was estimated to be responsible for 2.1% of the total burden of disease in Australia in 2003 and is associated with coronary heart disease, some cancers, Type 2 diabetes, overweight and obesity, osteoporosis, dental caries, gall bladder disease, and diverticular disease.

  • + Interventions: Nutrition

    The NSW Healthy Eating and Active Living Strategy 2013-2018 provides a whole of government framework to promote and support healthy eating and active living in NSW and to reduce the impact of lifestyle-related chronic disease.

    The Strategy has four key strategic directions:

      • environments to support healthy eating and active living

      • statewide healthy eating and active living support programs

      • healthy eating and active living advice as part of routine service delivery

      • education and information to enable informed, healthy choices.