Background/Aims: The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting discretionary food (DF) choices i.e. ‘foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol’. Increased consumption of DFs are associated with increased risk of obesity and chronic disease. Population dietary surveys provide information on actual consumption of DFs which inform public health policy decisions.
Methods: The 2009–10 Victorian Health Monitor was a state-wide cross-sectional health measurement survey of adults (18–75 years) from 50 randomly selected Census collection districts throughout Victoria. A total of 3,506 completed 1–4 non-consecutive 24-hour recalls, were analysed using AUSNUT 2007. Foods were classified as DFs based on the Australian Health Survey definition.
Results: Overall, 27% of foods consumed were classified as DFs. Total energy intake was 11.3MJ (95%CI 11.1–11.6MJ) for males and 8.4MJ for females (95%CI 8.2–8.7MJ, P<0.05). Males (35.9% 95%CI 34.9–36.9%) consumed significantly more energy from DFs than females (31.5%, 95%CI 30.4–32.6%, P<0.05), particularly more sugar (44.1% 95%CI 42.4– 45.9% V 40.3% 95%CI 38.9–41.8%, P<0.05) and sodium (38.3% 95%CI 37.4–39.2% V 34.7% 95%CI 33.5–36%, P<0.05).
Conclusions: These data suggest Victorian adults are not limiting their consumption of DFs in line with guidelines and there is a need for public health strategies to support limiting DF consumption. Continued monitoring of food consumption by comprehensive population dietary surveys are required in order to determine the success of public health approaches to limit the consumption of DFs.
Funding source: Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria