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Dietary behaviour

Contains key statistics and information about dietary behaviour trends in Australia, including state and territory findings

Reference period
2017 - 2018
Released
12/12/2018
Next release Unknown
First release

Key statistics

  • 5% of adults met both the fruit and vegetable recommendations.
  • 6% of children met both the fruit and vegetables recommendations.
  • 9% of adults and 7% of children consume sugar sweetened drinks daily.

Fruit and vegetable consumption

A balanced diet, including sufficient fruit and vegetables, reduces a person's risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend a minimum number of serves of fruit and vegetables each day, depending on a person's age and sex, to ensure good nutrition and health[1]. More information about the guidelines is available in the Glossary.

Key findings

  • In 2017-18, just over half (51.3%) of Australians aged 18 years and over met the guidelines for the recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves).
  • One in thirteen (7.5%) adults met the guidelines for serves of vegetables (5-6 or more serves for men depending on age, and 5 or more for women).
  • Only one in twenty (5.4%) adults met both the fruit and the vegetable recommendations. These rates have remained fairly consistent over time.
  • One in seventeen (6.0%) children aged 2-17 years met the guidelines for the recommended number of serves of both fruit and vegetables in 2017-18. Over seven in ten (73.0%) children ate the recommended serves of fruit, an increase from 2014-15 (70.1%)
     

2013 NHMRC Australian dietary guidelines

Recommended serves per dayAge group (years)
14-1819-5051-7070 years and over
Fruit    
nnnn Males
2
2
2
2
nnnn Females
2
2
2
2
Vegetables    
nnnn Males
5.5(a)
6
5.5(a)
5
nnnn Females
5
5
5
5
a. Rounded up to 6 serves in published data.
 

In 2017-18, just over half (51.3%) of Australians aged 18 years and over met the guidelines for the recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), while one in thirteen (7.5%) met the guidelines for serves of vegetables (5-6 or more serves for men depending on age, and 5 or more for women). Only one in twenty (5.4%) adults met both guidelines. These rates have remained fairly consistent over time.

Women were more likely to meet the guidelines than men. In 2017-18, more than half (55.8%) of women met the fruit guidelines, compared with 46.6% of men. For women 10.9% met the vegetable guidelines and 7.7% met both guidelines, compared with 4.1% and 3.0% for men respectively. In general, older people were more likely to meet the guidelines than younger people. Of people aged 65-74 years, 8.3% met both the fruit and vegetable intake guidelines, compared with only 3.6% of 18-24 year olds.

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In 2017-18, adults aged 18 years and over living in Inner Regional and Outer Regional and Remote areas of Australia were more likely to meet vegetable guidelines than those living in Major Cities (9.5% and 8.9% compared with 6.9% respectively). The proportion of adults aged 18 years and over who met the fruit guidelines was similar across areas, with around half meeting recommendations.

Although women were more likely than men to meet the guidelines for the consumption of fruits and vegetables, their average consumption was similar. On average, men aged 18 years and over usually consume 1.7 serves of fruit and 2.3 serves of vegetables each day. Women of the same age usually consume an average of 1.8 serves of fruit and 2.5 serves of vegetables.

While the proportion of adults aged 18 years and over who met the vegetable guidelines was low, around 42.0% usually consume three or more serves of vegetables.

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Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Discretionary foods such as Selected Sugar Sweetened and Diet drinks are not an essential part of a healthy diet and a limited intake of these food items is recommended in the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. Selected Sugar Sweetened and Diet drinks are classified as a discretionary food item as they tend to have little nutritional value. High and frequent intake of these drinks may lead to adverse health outcomes, such as dental caries, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of weight gain in both adults and children. Limiting the intake of discretionary foods such as Selected Sugar Sweetened and Diet drinks may lead individuals to better manage adverse health conditions[1].

Key findings

  • Almost one in eleven (9.1%) adults and one in fourteen (7.1%) children (aged 2-17 years) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily.
  • Men were almost twice as likely as women to usually consume sugar sweetened drinks daily (11.8% compared with 6.4% respectively). Men who were daily consumers also drink more per day, averaging 3.3 cups (825 ml or 2.2 cans) per day compared with women who consume 2.5 cups per day.
  • Less people consume diet drinks daily; 4.8% of adults and 1.3% of children. Men (daily consumers) consume on average 3.1 cups per day compared with women who consume 2.6 cups (650 ml) per day.
  • More than half of adults (52.0%) and children (55.2%) did not consume any sugar sweetened or diet drinks.

Definitions

There are a range of different definitions for sweetened drinks both nationally and internationally. For the purpose of the National Health Survey (NHS) 2017-18, Selected Sweetened drinks include both Selected Sugar Sweetened drinks and Diet drinks.

  • Sugar Sweetened drinks includes soft drink, cordials, sports drinks or caffeinated energy drinks. May include soft drinks in ready to drink alcoholic beverages. This definition excludes fruit juice, flavoured milk, 'sugar free' drinks, or coffee/hot tea. In this commentary, selected sugar sweetened drinks is referred to as sugar drinks. Sugar sweetened drinks were reported based on usual consumption per day/week.
  • Diet drinks are drinks that have artificial sweeteners added to them rather than sugar and includes diet soft drink, cordials, sports drinks or caffeinated energy drinks. These may also include diet soft drinks in ready to drink alcoholic beverages. This definition excludes non-diet drinks, fruit juice, flavoured milk, water or flavoured water, or coffee/tea flavoured with sugar replacements for example 'Equal'. Diet drinks were reported based on usual consumption per day/week.
     

Note the inclusions and collection methodology are slightly different to the definition of 'Sugar Sweetened beverages', previously published in the Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results (NNPAS)[2]. 'Sugar sweetened beverages' also included fruit and vegetable drinks that contain added sugar, with data based on 24-hour dietary recall information.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013), provides Australians with recommendations on the amounts and types of foods that are required to maintain health and well-being as well as reduce the risk of diet related conditions and risks of chronic disease. Guideline 3 recommends individuals 'limit intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars such as confectionary, sugar sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks'[3]. More information on the dietary guidelines can be found in the glossary.

How many people consume?

Around one in two (48.0%) adults consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week. Sugar sweetened drinks were more popular than diet drinks with 36.2% of people consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 17.7% of people consuming diet drinks. One in eleven people (9.1%) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily, while 22.6% consume them on 1-3 days per week and 63.8% did not consume them. By comparison, one in twenty people (4.8%) consume diet drinks daily, 10.3% 1-3 days per week and 82.3% do not consume.

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Who consumes?

Men were more likely to consume both sugar sweetened drinks and diet drinks than women. Overall, 44.3% of men consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 28.5% of women. Men were also more likely to be daily consumers (11.8% compared with 6.4%). Similarly, 19.5% of men consume diet drinks at least once per week compared with 15.9% of women.

Consumption of sugar sweetened peaked among young adults (18-24 years) with 61.3% consuming at least once per week and 13.6% consuming daily. Rates of consumption declined as age increased - by 65 years and over, 18.9% of people were weekly consumers and 6.1% were daily consumers. In contrast, the same pattern was not observed for diet drinks where the proportion consuming remained relatively constant across age groups.

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Adults aged 18 years and over living in the most disadvantaged areas (first quintile) were three times (13.8%) more likely to drink sugar sweetened drinks daily compared with 4.2% of adults living in the least disadvantaged areas (fifth quintile). 

A higher proportion of adults living in Outer Regional and Remote Australia consume sugar sweetened drinks daily at 13.1% compared with 9.9% living in Inner Regional Australia and 8.3% living in Major Cities.

Adults living in the Northern Territory had the highest rate of consumption of sugar sweetened drinks with one in nine (11.7%) consuming daily compared with one in fifteen (6.7%) adults in the Australian Capital Territory. The highest diet drink consumption was in South Australia with one in fifteen (6.7%) adults living consume diet drinks daily compared with the lowest prevalence in Tasmania with 3.8%. 

For those who consume sugar sweetened drinks daily, Men consume an average of 3.3 cups (825 ml or 2.2 cans) per day compared with 2.5 cups (625 ml) for women. Non-daily drinkers consume an average of 0.6 cups per day for Men and 0.4 cups per day for women. A similar pattern is observed for diet drinks with male daily drinkers consuming 3.1 cups per day and women 2.6 cups per day.

State and territory findings

Fruit and vegetable consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • In 2017-18, 51.3% of Australian adults met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), while 7.5% met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables (5-6 or more serves for men depending on age, and 5 or more for women). Only one in twenty (5.4%) Australian adults met both guidelines.
     
  • Adequate fruit consumption men
    • Highest: Queensland (48.1%)
    • Lowest: Australian Capital Territory (41.5%)
       
  • Adequate fruit consumption women
    • Highest: New South Wales (57.6%)
    • Lowest: Northern Territory (51.8%) and Tasmania (52.0%)
       
  • Adequate vegetable consumption men
    • Highest: Northern Territory (7.0%)
    • Lowest: Australian Capital Territory (2.9%)
       
  • Adequate vegetable consumption women
    • Highest: Tasmania (15.6%)
    • Lowest: Australian Capital Territory (10.1%) and New South Wales (10.3%)
       

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • Around one in two (48.0%) Australian adults consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Adults living in the Northern Territory had the highest rate of consumption of sugar sweetened drinks with one in nine (11.7%) consuming daily compared with one in fifteen (6.7%) adults in the Australian Capital Territory.
  • Across all States and Territories, adults were more likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks compared with diet drinks.
  • South Australians were most likely to consume diet drinks daily (6.7%) compared with Tasmania (3.8%).
  • Across all States and Territories, men were more likely than women to consume sugar sweetened drinks.
     
  • Daily consumption of sugar sweetened drinks men
    • Highest: Northern Territory (15.0%)
    • Lowest: Victoria (8.0%)
       
  • Daily consumption of sugar sweetened drinks women
    • Highest: Northern Territory (9.6%)
    • Lowest: Australian Capital Territory (3.8%)
       
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Children (2 -17 years)

  • Around two in five Australian children (44.8%) usually consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • The highest rate of children who usually consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week was South Australia and the lowest rate was in the Australian Capital Territory (48.3% compared with 39.7%).
  • Tasmania had the highest rate of children who consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week (44.9%) compared with the lowest rate in the Australian Capital Territory at 36.0%. In comparison, South Australia had the highest rate of children who consume diet drinks at least once per week (12.1%) compared with the Australian Capital Territory (4.7%).


More detailed nutrition information was collected as part of the Australian Health Survey 2011-12. See Australian Health Survey: Nutrition – State and Territory results, 2011-12 (cat. No. 4364.0.55.009). 

New South Wales

Fruit and vegetable consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • More than half of adults (52.4%) met the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), whilst one in fourteen (7.0%) met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables.
  • Only one in twenty (5.2%) adults met both guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • More than seven in ten (71.6%) children met the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, whilst one in fifteen (6.6%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables.
  • One in fifteen (6.6%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • Around one in two (48.1%) adults consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 36.6% of adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 16.9% of adults consuming diet drinks.
  • Almost one in ten (9.5%) adults consume sugar sweetened drinks daily, with less consuming diet drinks daily (4.9%).
  • Men are more likely to consume both sugar sweetened drinks and diet drinks than women. Overall, 44.4% of men consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 29.0% of women. Men are also more likely to be daily consumers (12.4% compared with 6.7%).
  • Consumption of sugar sweetened drinks peaked among young adults (18-24 years) with 59.6% consuming at least once per week. Rates of consumption generally declined as age increased and by 65 years and over, 19.7% of people are weekly consumers.
  • Adults living in the most disadvantaged areas (first quintile) are five times (15.8%) more likely to drink sugar sweetened drinks daily compared with 3.1% of adults living in the least disadvantaged areas (fifth quintile).
  • Adults living in Major Cities are less likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks daily at 8.4% compared with 12.7% living in Inner Regional Australia and 16.2% living in Outer Regional and Remote areas.
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • Around two in five children (45.8%) usually consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 41.7% of children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 7.0% for diet drinks.
  • One in fourteen children (7.7%) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily and almost one third (30.8%) consume them 1-3 days per week. By comparison, 1.3% of children consume diet drinks daily and 5.9% consume them 1-3 days per week.
  • Boys are more likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks than girls, consistent with the trend for adults. Almost half (49.1%) of boys consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with just over a third (33.6%) of girls.
     

Victoria

Fruit and vegetable consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • More than half of adults (51.3%) met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), whilst around one in thirteen (7.8%) met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables.
  • One in twenty (5.0%) adults in Victoria met both guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • Three quarters (75.6%) of children met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, whilst around one in fourteen (7.2%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables.
  • One in fifteen (6.5%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • Fewer than half (47.1%) of adults consume either sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks, with around twice as many adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with those consuming diet drinks (36.1% compared with 18.1%).
  • More adults consume sugar sweetened drinks daily (7.0%) than diet drinks (3.9%).
  • More men than women consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week (44.9% and 27.6% respectively). Men are also more likely to be daily consumers (8.2% compared with 5.9%).
  • Similarly, more men (21.0%) consume diet drinks at least once per week compared with women (15.3%).
  • Consumption of sugar sweetened drinks peaked among young adults (18-24 years) with 61.1% consuming at least once per week and 11.0% consuming daily.
  • Adults living in the most disadvantaged areas (first quintile) were almost three times (11.8%) more likely to drink sugar sweetened drinks daily than adults living in the least disadvantaged areas (4.3%) (fifth quintile).
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • Two in five children (42.0%) usually consume either sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 38.1% of children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 8.7% for diet drinks.
  • One in twenty children (5.1%) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily and almost one third (31.0%) consume them 1-3 days per week. By comparison, 1.1% of children consume diet drinks daily and 6.2% consume them 1-3 days per week.
  • Boys are more likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks than girls, consistent with the trend for adults. More than two in five (44.3%) boys consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with just under a third (31.8%) of girls.
     

Victoria had a lower rate of adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks daily compared with Australia (7.0% compared with 9.1%). The rates for children were similar to the national rates.

Queensland

Fruit and vegetable consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • More than half of adults (51.4%) met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), whilst around one in fourteen (7.2%) met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables.
  • Only around one in twenty (5.2%) adults met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • More than seven in ten (71.5%) children met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, whilst one in seventeen (5.9%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables.
  • One in nineteen (5.3%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • Almost one in two (48.2%) adults consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks were more popular than diet drinks with 36.0% of adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 17.1% consuming diet drinks.
  • One in ten (10.3%) adults consumed sugar sweetened drinks daily, with less consuming diet drinks daily (5.8%). Men were more likely than women to consume sugar sweetened drinks daily (14.0% compared with 6.9%) and at least once per week (44.2% compared with 28.0%). On the other hand, men and women consumed diet drinks at similar rates both daily (5.2% and 6.0% respectively) and at least once per week (18.2% and 15.8% respectively).
  • Consumption of sugar sweetened peaked among young adults (18-24 years) with 59.1% consuming at least once per week. Rates of consumption generally declined as age increased and by 65 years and over, 19.0% of people were weekly consumers.
  • Adults aged 18 years and over living in the most disadvantaged areas (first quintile) were twice (13.8%) as likely to drink sugar sweetened drinks daily compared with 6.7% of adults living in the least disadvantaged areas (fifth quintile).
  • Adults living in Major Cities, Inner Regional Australia, and Outer Regional and Remote areas were equally as likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks daily.
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • Around half of children (46.4%) consume sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks were more popular than diet drinks with 44.2% of children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 6.0% for diet drinks.
  • One in twelve (8.1%) children consume sugar sweetened drinks daily while one third (33.1%) consume them on 1-3 days per week. By comparison, only 0.8% of children consume diet drinks daily, while 4.7% consume them on 1-3 days per week.
  • Boys were more likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks than girls, consistent with the trend for adults. Just over half (51.1%) of boys consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with about two in five (35.7%) girls.
     

Compared with Australia, Queensland had higher rates of adults who consume sugar sweetened drinks daily (10.3% compared with 9.1%). 

South Australia

Fruit and vegetable consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • Almost half of adults (48.2%) met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), whilst around one in fifteen (6.7%) met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables.
  • Only around one in twenty (4.6%) adults met both guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • Seven in ten (70.5%) children met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, whilst only 3.7% met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables.
  • Only 3.7% met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

South Australia had a lower rate of children who met the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommended daily serves for vegetables compared with Australia (3.7% compared with 6.3%). The rates for adults were similar to the national rates.

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • Just over half (51.8%) of adults usually consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 37.0% of adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 23.0% of people consuming diet drinks.
  • Almost one in ten (10.3%) adults consume sugar sweetened drinks daily, with less consuming diet drinks daily (6.7%).
  • Men are more likely to consume both sugar sweetened drinks and diet drinks than women. Overall, 45.7% of men consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 28.8% of women. Men were also more likely to be daily consumers (14.1% compared with 6.5%).
  • Consumption of sugar sweetened drinks peaked among young adults (18-24 years) with 72.3% consuming at least once per week. Rates of consumption declined as age increased and by 65 years and over 19.4% of people were weekly consumers.
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • Just over half of children (53.2%) consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 42.6% of children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 12.1% for diet drinks.
  • One in fourteen children (6.0%) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily and almost one third (32.2%) consume them 1-3 days per week. By comparison, 3.6% of children consume diet drinks daily and 7.6% consume them 1-3 days per week.
  • There was no difference between boys and girls and sugar sweetened drink consumption (40.9% and 44.7% respectively).
     

South Australia had a higher rate of adults who usually consume sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week compared with Australia (51.8% compared with 48.0%) and diet drinks daily (6.7% compared with 4.8%). South Australia had a higher rate of children who consume diet drinks daily (3.6% compared with 1.3%). 

Western Australia

Fruit and vegetable consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • Half of adults (50.8%) met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), whilst one in eleven (8.9%) met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables.
  • Almost one in fourteen (6.9%) adults met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • Three quarters (75.8%) of children met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, whilst close to one in fifteen (6.8%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables.
  • One in seventeen (5.8%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • Just under half (47.1%) of adults consume either sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks, with twice as many adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with those consuming diet drinks (35.7% compared with 16.6%).
  • More adults consume sugar sweetened drinks daily (9.5%) than diet drinks (4.1%).
  • Men are more likely than women to consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week (41.7% and 29.7% respectively). Men were also more likely than women to be daily consumers of sugar sweetened drinks (12.3% compared with 6.4%).
  • Consumption of sugar sweetened drinks peaked among young adults (18-24 years) with 62.6% consuming at least once per week, however, only 18.3% consume daily.
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • Two in five children (43.3%) usually consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Children are more likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks than diet drinks with around two in five (39.9%) children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 5.9% for diet drinks.
  • One in twelve children (8.2%) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily and almost one third (30.3%) consume them 1-3 days per week.
  • Unlike the trend for adults, similar proportions of boys and girls consume sugar sweetened drinks. More than two in five (42.2%) boys and over one third (37.6%) of girls consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week.
     

Tasmania

Fruit and vegetable consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • Almost half of adults (47.1%) met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), whilst one in nine (11.2%) met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables.
  • Only one in fourteen (7.0%) adults met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • Almost three quarters (74.0%) of children met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, whilst around one in sixteen (6.0%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables.
  • Only 4.2% met the guideline for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Tasmania had a lower rate of adults who met the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommended daily serves of fruit compared with Australia (47.1% compared with 51.3%). However, the rate of adults who met the recommended daily serves of vegetables was higher than the national rate (11.2% compared with 7.5%). Rates for children were similar to the national rate. 

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • Just under half (46.5%) of adults consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with more than twice as many adults (36.3%) consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 15.2% of people consuming diet drinks.
  • One in ten (11.4%) adults consume sugar sweetened drinks daily, with less consuming diet drinks daily (3.8%).
  • Men are more likely to consume both sugar sweetened drinks than women. Overall, 43.1% of men consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 30.2% of women. Men were also more likely to be daily consumers (13.6% compared with 8.7%).
  • Young adults are most likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week; 67.3% of 18-24 year olds and 56.2% of 25-34 year olds. Rates of consumption generally declined as age increased and by 65 years and over, 18.2% of people were weekly consumers.
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • Less than half of children (47.9%) usually consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 44.9% of children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 7.9% for diet drinks.
  • One in ten children (10.0%) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily and almost one third (31.9%) consume them 1-3 days per week.
  • Boys are more likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks than girls, consistent with the trend for adults. Just over half (53.3%) of boys consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with just over a third (37.3%) of girls.
     

Tasmania had higher rates of adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks daily compared with Australia (11.4% compared with 9.1%).

Northern Territory

Fruit and vegetable consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • Almost half (47.7%) of adults met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), whilst one in ten (10.3%) met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables (5-6 or more serves for men depending on age, and 5 or more for women).
  • Only one in fifteen (6.6%) adults met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • Three quarters (73.9%) of children met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, whilst only 6.6% met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables.
  • Only 7.7% met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Northern Territory had a higher rate of adults who met the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommended daily serves of vegetables compared with Australia (10.3% compared with 7.5%). Rates for children were similar to the national rate. 

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • More than half (54.9%) of adults consume either sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with more than twice as many adults (43.1%) consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 16.6% of people consuming diet drinks.
  • One in nine (11.7%) adults consume sugar sweetened drinks daily, with less consuming diet drinks daily (5.2%).
  • Men are more likely to consume both sugar sweetened drinks and diet drinks than women (63.8% compared with 45.9%). Men are also more likely to be daily consumers (15.0% compared with 9.6%).
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • Around two in five children (44.1%) usually consume either sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 37.7% of children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 9.5% for diet drinks.
  • One in fourteen children (11.1%) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily and 2.1% of children consume diet drinks daily.
  • Similar proportions of boys and girls consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week (37.5% and 44.4% respectively).
     

Northern Territory had a higher rate of adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks daily compared with Australia (11.7% compared with 9.1%). There was also a higher rate of adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks once per week (37.7% compared with 36.2%). Rates of children were similar to the national rate.

Australian Capital Territory

Fruit and vegetable consumption

Adults (18 years and over)

  • Almost half of adults (48.1%) met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), whilst one in fourteen (6.8%) met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables (5-6 or more serves for men depending on age, and 5 or more for women).
  • Fewer than one in twenty (4.2%) adults met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • More than three quarters (75.3%) of children met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, whilst 3.5% met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables.
  • Only 3.5% met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
     

Australian Capital Territory had a lower rate of adults meeting the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit compared with Australia (48.1% compared with 51.3%). 

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (aged 18 years and over)

  • Two in five (43.3%) adults consume either sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • One in fifteen (6.7%) adults consume sugar sweetened drinks daily. Adults also consume diet drinks daily at a similar rate (5.5%).
  • Men are more than twice as likely as women to consume sugar drinks daily (9.0% compared with 3.8%).
     

Children (2-17 years)

  • Over one third of children (39.7%) consume either sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 36.0% of children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 4.7% for diet drinks.
  • One in thirteen (7.2%) children consume sugar sweetened drinks daily and over one quarter (26.7%) consume 1-3 days per week.
  • Boys are more likely than girls to consume sugar drinks at least once per week (42.4% compared with 31.3%).
     

Australian Capital Territory adults are less likely to consume either sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week (43.3% compared with 48.0%), sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week (30.0% compared with 36.2%) and sugar sweetened drinks daily (6.7% compared with 9.1%) compared with the national rates. The rates for children were similar to the national rates. 

Children's dietary behaviours

Healthy practices established early in life, such as as adequate physical activity, a balanced diet with sufficient fruit and vegetables, may continue into adolescence and adulthood, thereby reducing a person's risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Conversely, risk factors such as being overweight or obese in childhood may increase a person's risk of developing such health conditions later in life. 

Fruit and vegetable consumption

The 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend a minimum number of serves of fruit and vegetables each day for children, depending on their age and sex, to help ensure the optimum nutrition necessary to support growth and development [1]. More information about the guidelines is available in the Glossary. 

On average, children aged 2-17 years usually consume 2.2 serves of fruit and 2 serves of vegetables each day, but because the recommendations for vegetables are considerably more than for fruit, children were much less likely to consume an adequate amount of vegetables. 

In 2017-18, over seven in ten (73.0%) children aged 2-17 years ate the recommended serves of fruit, an increase from 2014-15 (70.1%). One in sixteen (6.3%) ate the recommended amount of vegetables and one in seventeen (6.0%) children met the guidelines for the recommended number of serves of both fruit and vegetables, similar to 2014-15.

Girls were more likely than boys to meet recommended intakes for fruit in 2017-18 (76.0% compared with 70.6%), but the proportions of girls and boys meeting recommended intakes for vegetables were similarly low (7.3% and 5.3% respectively). 

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Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Around two in five children aged 2-17 years (44.8%) usually consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week. Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 41.1% of children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once a week compared with 7.7% for diet drinks. One in fourteen children (7.1%) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily and almost one third (31.1%) consume them one to three days per week. By comparison, 1.3% of children consume diet drinks daily and 5.4% consume them one to three days per week.

Who consumes sugar sweetened and diet drinks?

Boys aged 2-17 years are more likely to consume drink sugar sweetened drinks than girls, consistent with the trend for adults. Almost half (47.0%) of boys consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with just over a third (34.8%) of girls. Unlike for adults, rates of consumption of diet drinks was similar among boys and girls with 8.2% and 7.0% consuming them at least once per week.

Just over half (55.2%) of all children aged 2-17 years do not usually consume any sugar or diet drinks. Girls were less likely to consume than boys (61.6% of non-consumers compared with 49.2%). 

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Children aged 2-17 years who are daily consumers of sugar sweetened drinks consume on average 2.4 cups per day (equivalent to 1.6 cans of soft drink or one 600mL bottle). The average intake for boys aged 2-17 who consume sugar sweetened beverages daily is higher than girls (2.8 cups per day compared with 1.6 cups). 

Children who drink diet drinks daily consume 3.3 cups per day on average.

Data downloads

Table 1: Summary health characteristics, 2001 to 2017–18 - Australia

Table 2: Summary health characteristics, 2017–18 - states and territories

Table 5: Selected current long-term conditions by health risk factors and health status - Australia

Table 6: Health risk factors by population characteristics - Australia

Table 12: Consumption of fruit, vegetables, and sugar sweetened and diet drinks - Australia

Table 17: Children's consumption of fruit, vegetables, and selected sugar sweetened and diet drinks - Australia

Table 20: New South Wales

Table 21: Victoria

Table 22: Queensland

Table 23: South Australia

Table 24: Western Australia

Table 25: Tasmania

Table 26: Northern Territory

Table 27: Australian Capital Territory

Endnotes

Show all

Fruit and vegetable consumption

1 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), 2013. Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines; last accessed 27/11/2018

Sugar sweetened drinks and diet drinks

1 Australian dietary guidelines, 'Discretionary food and drink choices', 2017 https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/discretionary-food-and-drink-choices ; last accessed 08/11/2018

2 Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Foods and Nutrients, 2011-12 https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/lookup/4364.0.55.007main+features12011-12; last accessed 08/11/2018
 
3 Australian dietary guidelines, 'Fat, salt, sugars and alcohol', 2015 https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/fat-salt-sugars-and-alcohol; last accessed 08/11/2018 

Children's risk factors

1 National Health and Medical Research Council (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines; last accessed 27/11/2018