Australians eating too much junk food, report finds

A selection of unhealthy foods, including cakes, doughnuts, jam tarts, sweet pastries and ginger biscuits. Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption A new study casts an unflattering light on Australian eating habits

Australians eat three times more junk food than the recommended daily intake, according to a new report.

Australians were consuming junk food every day rather than as an indulgence, said the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) report.

The study of 40,000 Australians found, on average, people consumed the equivalent of 32kg of chocolate a year.

Australia scored 61 out of 100 in the CSIRO's Healthy Diet Score Survey.

"The scores were fairly unflattering across all respondents," said CSIRO research director Prof Manny Noakes.

"If we were handing out report cards for diet quality Australia would only get a C," said Prof Noakes.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Obesity is the second highest contributor to disease in Australia

Prof Noakes defined junk food as those foods that should be an occasional treat, such as chocolate, cake and fast food.

'Eat more slowly'

Obesity rates are continuing to rise in Australia.

Almost two in three Australian adults and one in four children are overweight or obese, according to the government's Institute of Health and Welfare.

Australians needed to eat less junk food and eat smaller portions of food, said Prof Noakes.

"[Junk] food is no longer just an indulgence - it's become mainstream and Australians are eating it each and every day," she said.

"They also need to be more mindful of every bite they take by eating more slowly and consciously."

The survey evaluated a person's diet based on variety, frequency and quantity of the essential food groups as well as individual attributes such as age and gender.

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