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Aussies need to drink less and eat more veggies, new study says

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The CSIRO diet score suggests Australians' eating habits are becoming less healthy over time. Here's what else it found.
CSIRO diet score

The quality of Australian diets is getting worse, with only two in five Australians eating enough vegetables, according to an eight-year study by the CSIRO.

Over 235,000 Australians have taken part in the ‘Healthy Diet Score’ survey between 2015 and 2023 – providing a snapshot of the quality, quantity and variety of what Australians eat.

The CSIRO diet score

After completing an online survey about food intake, the CSIRO gives respondents a score on their diet. The higher the score, the ‘healthier’ the diet.

The yearly Australian diet score fell from 56 in 2015 to 53 in 2023.

Women were more likely to have a healthier diet than men.

The key findings

Retirees had the best diet score, at 59.2. Personal trainers and healthcare workers also scored high.

Construction workers had one of the lowest scores, averaging 51.5.

Young Australians had worse eating habits than older adults. The average student diet scored 54.1.

‘Discretionary’ food

The report said said the average Australian has 28 serves of ‘discretionary’ foods per week, which is ‘too high’. Discretionary foods are those with high saturated fat, added sugars, added salt and/or alcohol.

Alcohol made up nearly a third of respondents’ discretionary intake. This was slightly higher for men.

Cakes and biscuits were the next most popular items in this category.

The good news

Australians achieved a 92.8 when it comes to average water consumption.

Meat and its alternatives (e.g. tofu) intake performed strongly with an average score of 77.9.

The national average score for bread and cereal intake also returned a strong average of 70.4, with an even gender split.

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