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Put the bite on junk food

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Queenslanders are making poor diet decisions and consuming too much junk food, according to the Chief Health Officer’s The Health of Queenslanders Report 2014.

Queensland Health’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said dietary factors were the leading risk of disease burden in Australia.

“All Queenslanders need to reduce the amount of junk food, cakes, pastries, biscuits, confectionery, sugary drinks and alcohol they are consuming.”

“These foods are no longer ‘treat’ or ‘occasional’ foods as they have been in the past, but have found their way into the everyday diet, such as the lunchboxes and snacks of children and adults in Queensland.

“On average at least one third of daily energy intake is from these discretionary foods that are energy-dense with no nutritional value, and this applies to the whole Queensland population – from children as young as two years of age through to people in their 70s and older,” Dr Young said.

The Health of Queenslanders Report 2014 also found about one quarter of all deaths were directly or indirectly associated with dietary risks.

“Overwhelmingly the evidence points to Queenslanders eating too much of the wrong food and moving too little. And Queenslanders have a much distorted view of their weight, particularly as big, bigger and huge is now our norm,” she said.

“We are witnessing an increase in physical activity but there is still too much sedentary behaviour. Only 60 per cent of Queensland adults and 41 per cent of children are achieving the recommended physical activity levels.

“We need to look at ways to be more active. One in eight adults usually sits for seven or more hours each day and one in three children spend two or more hours of recreational screen time every day,” she said.

“Take the stairs rather than the lift, and consider taking public transport or walk or cycle to work instead of taking the car.

“There are simple and small changes we can make to improve our overall health.”

Dr Young said that was the message of the Queensland Government’s Healthier. Happier. campaign.

The campaign encourages Queenslanders to ask questions about their lifestyle in a fun and interactive way, and use the Health & Fitness Age calculator to discover easy steps to a healthier life.

Visit the Healthier. Happier. campaign website for more information on good nutrition and ways to be more active. Healthy recipes and tips for healthier shopping and cooking techniques are also available. The Health & Fitness Age calculator and video files can also be found on the campaign site.

Background information

  • Junk foods made up 35 per cent of the energy intake in two to three year olds, peaking at 45 per cent in 14 to18 year olds, and reducing to about 33 per cent for those aged 50 years and older
  • About one quarter of all deaths were directly or indirectly associated with dietary risks
  • About one in two primary school age children are consuming confectionery daily
  • Two-thirds of young males are consuming sugary drinks daily
  • About half of middle aged males are consuming alcohol daily
  • Of those Queenslanders who are consuming alcoholic and sugary drinks, peak consumption of about five cans a day (1919gm) is in the 19 to 30 year old males category
  • While about 60 per cent of adults and children ate the recommended daily serves of fruit, only about seven per cent ate enough vegetables. There has been little change in a decade.
Last updated: 19 November 2014