Australians not eating enough grain

Wednesday, 31 October, 2007

A national consumer education campaign promoting consumption of at least four serves of grain-based foods a day for optimum health was launched this week in Sydney.

Experts say many Australians are not eating enough of the core grain-based foods — such as bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, rice and oats — and risk missing out on the essential nutrients and health benefits they provide.

The new ‘4+ Serves a Day’ campaign was launched by Go Grains Health & Nutrition, Australia’s leading independent nutrition advisory group on the benefits of grain-based foods in human health.

“The actual amount of grain-based foods required each day will vary according to body size, activity level, age and gender, but the National Health and Medical Research Council’s ‘Food for Health’ guide recommends all Australians aged four and over eat at least four serves of grain foods every day,” said Trish Griffiths, accredited practicing dietitian and executive manager of Go Grains Health & Nutrition.

“As part of our preparation for this campaign, we conducted a national Newspoll study which found most Australians are unaware of the 4+ recommendation — 70% incorrectly believe they should be eating three or fewer serves of grain-based foods each day, and only 17% correctly think four or more servings each day is the right amount.

“With all the coverage of fad diets and celebrity slimming plans, Australians are confused about the facts when it comes to grain-based foods.”

The last National Nutrition Survey carried out in Australia revealed that many people were falling short of the recommended intake for grain foods — women in particular were eating only three or fewer serves per day.

Speaking at today’s launch, Senator Brett Mason, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, said the Australian government supports the 4+ campaign and its aim to help improve the diet of Australians.

“In a country with a growing obesity problem we need to promote healthier eating patterns, especially for children, and eating four-plus serves of grain foods a day is an essential part of the overall health message the government is keen to promote,” Senator Mason said.

“Ensuring that we include enough grain-based foods in an overall healthy diet, and combining that with adequate exercise, is a goal we should all be aiming for.”

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