Just for the record – I have nothing against burgers

Lachlan Cornell

The Australia Bureau of Statistics, released a report in December last year, stating that more than two-thirds of Australians are now overweight or obese.

In light of this, NobleOak surveyed 1000 Australian adults to gauge eating habits and nutrition awareness. The research reveals that people spend 32% of their weekly food budget on fast food and are not fully aware of the health risks of a poor diet. To put that into context, in 1988, Australians only spend about 25% of their food budget eating out. Some other interesting and worrying statistics from the report are:

-Young Australians choose food that’s cheap, quick and easy to purchase

-Tasmania top for fast food restaurants

-Many Australians are unaware of the link between a poor diet and health issues

Younger Australians (18-34 years old) are most likely to choose food that is easy to purchase (68%), quick to cook (63%) and cheap (61%). However, older Australians (55+ years old) are most likely to choose food that is healthy (62%), easy to purchase (52%), and low in fat (51%).

Diet & health issues

There is no doubt that a poor diet over the long run is likely to result in sinister health issues. Although people may not notice any immediate effects, there are immediate negative results on your body. More than half of the respondents in the survey are unaware that a long-term unhealthy diet has been scientifically linked to depression, types of cancer, a weaker immune system, kidney disease and early death. See the table below for more detailed numbers.

Results from NobleOak survey

Nutritionist viewpoint

Rachel Scoular, an APD Dietitian & Nutritionist, commented on the findings:

On the popularity of fast food:

“I think the main contributor is convenience. Third-party ordering apps such as Menulog, Deliveroo and Uber Eats make it easier than ever to buy fast food within minutes. In the past, fast food and takeaway usually meant Chinese food and pizza, mainly ordered on weekends. However, with the arrival of such apps, we are now spoilt for choice with fast food options and accessibility, so we’re now seeing higher consumption rates throughout the week and not just on weekends.”

On younger people spending most on fast food:

“I think there’s a large difference in lifestyle between those aged 18 to 34 and their older counterparts. We are now working longer hours with longer commutes and have less time during the week for personal tasks such as cooking. There’s also the influence and pressure of keeping up with the Joneses, driven mainly by social media. These social networking sites are often filled with images of food and restaurants. There’s greater temptation to act on these impulses and purchase fast food now than in previous years.” 

On raising awareness of the health risks of poor nutrition:

“The fact that 55% of Australians are eating less than one portion of fruit and vegetables is alarming, to say the least. I think there’s a great opportunity for intervention and nutrition education here, small changes and simple swaps to alter your intake to include for fruits and vegetables, wholegrain cereals and low-fat products are all great steps that are quite easily achieved.” 

On nutrition awareness in Australia:

“Society as a whole in Australia has made some great steps in the right direction in the past years, but there’s obviously more work to be done here. I’m impressed by the high awareness rates in the link between poor diet and obesity, I think we are well educated in that area. It’s the co-morbidities of obesity that aren’t as well known.”

Lachlan Cornell
Freelance Writer