Be alarmed! We’re eating less fruit and vegetables than ever before – 30% less than 15 years ago. Helen Waterworth sounds the alarm!

The alarming fact is that fast food has eclipsed vegetables as a dietary stape for Australians, with teenagers leading the charge to fast food, according to new data from the Bureau of Statistics shows.

Helen Waterworth – who I wrote about in the AFR Weekend, Enterprising Women, column – is part of a push to get us back on track to healthy eating where our vegetables can once again become heroes on the dinner table.

She talks about the issue here – at a Fulworks Business Q&A, Melbourne, 28 May, 2014.  (Video insert here…..)

Social media is one way to spread the word, with a new campaign at www.hatters.com.au – launched to revive old-fashioned veggies.  Helen also works with www.perfectionfresh.com.au – partnering with a firm which claims to be leading the fresh food revolution.  It’s a big job, but we have to start somewhere.

Here’s the full article, from the SMH, below:

Health experts say governments have failed to tackle Australia’s “tsunami” of chronic disease and soaring rates of obesity, fearing the problem will only get worse unless the the healthy food star rating system is reinstated and junk food promotion is restricted.

In the first profile of Australia’s eating habits available in 15 years, the Australian Health Survey of 12,000 people found we are eating 30 per cent less fruit and vegetables than 15 years ago, with one in four adults eating no vegetables on an average day and only 7 per cent eating the daily recommended five servings.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/australians-are-including-fewer-healthy-food-options-in-their-diets-20140509-zr8bd.html#ixzz335SvU0sI

‘Incredibly low’ vegetable consumption reveals that fast food has eclipsed vegetables as a dietary staple. Photo: Angela Wilde

Professor of health policy at Curtin University Mike Daube said “incredibly low” vegetable consumption reveals that fast food has eclipsed vegetables as a dietary staple.

“It is a major concern,” he said. “Unless governments take the way we eat seriously then there will be dire implications for health budgets and the cost of diabetes will blow out. The results are a triumph for the mass marketing of junk food.”

Australians eat about three kilograms of food and drink each day, with just over one-third of daily energy from foods high in saturated fat and sugar such as cake, biscuits, alcohol, soft drink and chips.

Professor Daube said most people would be “horrified” to realise much of their energy intake is from food that is essentially useless.

But the survey results also show that, despite Australians weighing about four kilograms more than 20 years ago, overall we are eating less.

Men are consuming about 9600 kilojules each day – 1400 kJ less than 15 years ago – and women’s average energy intake has dropped 1 per cent to 7400 kJ each day. The survey also shows people are eating about 226 grams of carbohydrates daily, the equivalent of about 12-14 pieces of bread, which is about 12 per cent less than 15 years ago.

National spokeswoman for the Heart Foundation Kellie-Ann Jolly said the “dismal” daily intake of vegetables combined with fatty food diets means many people are “unaware” of what they are eating.

“We are seeing a drop in physical activity combined with eating far too much saturated fat,” she said. “Food like pastries and cake, which were once occasional, have become daily.”