A new survey provides unprecedented evidence on the bad eating habits of Australians

Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

The eating habits of four out of five Australians are below par, according to the nation’s largest diet survey.

The 2016 CSIRO Healthy Diet Score report canvassed the dietary habits of more than 86,500 adults over 12 months.

The nation’s diet a score is 59 out of 100, confirming that Australian eating habits are worse than thought.

“We have an image of being fit and healthy, but with a collective diet score of 59/100 that image could be very different unless we act now,” says Manny Noakes, CSIRO research director and co-author of the Total Wellbeing Diet.

According to the 2016 Healthy Diet Score, 80% of respondents received an individual score below 70, which is the benchmark number.

“If we can raise our collective score by just over 10 points, we help Australia mitigate against the growing rates of obesity and lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and a third of all cancers,” Professor Noakes says.

“All people need to do is halve the bad and double the good. In other words, halve the amount of discretionary food you eat and double your vegetable intake.”

Just 1% of Australians are abstaining from junk food, while more than one third admitted to eating more than the recommended maximum allowance.

“We find that there is often a tendency to under-report on certain types of food, so in all likelihood that figure is even higher,” Professor Noakes says.

The report shows that women have better nutritional levels than men (60 Vs 56/100).

Construction workers are among those with the poorest diets, while public servants, real estate agents and health industry workers reported some of the healthiest eating patterns.

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