More than half unhappy with their weight: DAA

New DAA research shows more than half Australian adults are unhappy with their weight, with many wanting to eat better, trim portion sizes and cook at home more.

The national Omnipoll survey of 1,230 Australians aged 18-64 years, commissioned by the Dietitians Association of Australia, revealed around 52% of adults want to lose weight.

The survey also found around one in three (34%) want to boost their vegetable intake, a quarter (26%) are aiming to reduce portion sizes, and around one in five (19%) want to cook at home more.

The research comes as DAA launches Australia’s Healthy Weight Week (15-21 February), which calls on Australians to make simple changes towards smart eating, starting with cooking at home more often.

According to DAA spokesperson Professor Clare Collins, research shows that people who regularly make their meals at home have better overall diets.

They are more likely to eat smaller portions and take in fewer kilojoules and less fat, salt and sugar, compared with people who rarely eat home-cooked dinners. In turn, this is more likely to result in a healthy weight.

Prof Collins says by improving skills in home cooking, Australians can up their vegetable intake by more than half a serve a day, an important finding given more than nine in 10 Australians don’t eat enough vegetables.

She says the Omnipoll survey also found that 14% of Australians currently eat out or buy takeaway three or more times a week.

“These days, we’re often in a hurry and can fall into a habit of eating take-away foods or snacking on unhealthy foods and drinks,” she says. “Another challenge, in a culture with a ‘supersizing’ mentality, is eating portions sizes that are too big.

“Cooking at home is one way to pack a punch when it comes to keeping your weight in check and improving your health, and that of your family.”

Prof Collins called on Australians to rise to the challenge and kick-start healthy eating habits, starting with cooking at home every day during Australia’s Healthy Weight Week.

She says that for Australians wanting to shape up, a realistic weight loss of around 2 to 4kg a month can be achieved with healthy eating, correct portion sizes and regular physical activity.

In support of Australia’s Healthy Weight Week, Rural Health Minister Fiona Nash said: “I applaud this initiative of the Dietitians Association of Australia. The Australian Government is committed to tackling obesity and educating Australians to eat better and lead healthier lives.”

Minister Nash chaired the inaugural meeting of the Healthy Food Partnership in late 2015, which brought together government, public health and the food industry to work collaboratively on these issues.

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