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Open Access Short Report

Food consumption habits in two states of Australia, as measured by a Food Frequency Questionnaire

Alison M Daly1, Jacqueline E Parsons2, Nerissa A Wood1, Tiffany K Gill2 and Anne W Taylor2*

Author Affiliations

1 Health Outcomes Assessment, Epidemiology Branch, Public Health Intelligence, Public Health Division, Western Australian Department of Health. 189 Royal Street, East Perth, Western Australia, Australia 6004

2 Population Research and Outcomes Studies, University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. 122 Frome Street, Adelaide SA 5000

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:507  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-507

Published: 23 November 2011

Abstract

Background

Obesity is an important public health problem in Australia, and monitoring the nutritional intake of the population is an important endeavour. One way to assess food habits is via Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQ). This pilot study used a routine telephone risk factor surveillance survey to recruit participants in South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (WA) to a postal survey investigating food consumption habits, using a FFQ. Respondents were also asked specific additional questions about their fruit and vegetable consumption and also about their height and weight so that comparisons could be made between the data collected in the risk factor surveillance system and the postal survey.

Findings

In total, 1275 respondents (65% of eligible telephone respondents) completed the postal survey. The results of the FFQ were very similar for WA and SA. Western Australians consumed statistically significantly more serves of vegetables than South Australians (t = 2.69 df = 1245 p <= 0.01), and females consumed statistically significantly more serves of both fruit and vegetables than males (t = 4.51 df = 1249 p <= 0.01 and t = 4.83 df = 1249 p <= 0.01 respectively). Less than 10% of respondents met the daily guidelines for vegetable consumption. Over half of respondents were overweight or obese.

Conclusions

Although a wide variety of foods were consumed, guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption were not being met and overweight and obesity continue to be issues in this population.