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Did you know that only 35% of Australians are getting their recommended daily intake of vegetables? The recent CSIRO Healthy Diet Score report paints a clear picture of our nation’s eating habits, and the results have serious implications for workplaces across Australia.

Over an eight-year period, the CSIRO surveyed more than 230,000 Australians and assessed their diets based on a range of factors, including quantity, quality and variety, scoring them out of 100.

The average diet score over the entire 8-year period was a disappointing 55/100. What’s even more worrying is that these scores have been on a downward trajectory, declining from 56 in 2015 to 53 in 2023. This means that Australian diets are not just bad, but they’re also getting worse.

Key Findings from the Report:

The report highlights that where a person works matters significantly, with those working in Logistics (51.5/100) and Manufacturing (51.9/100) having some of the worst diets of any occupation, far below the average of 55/100.

Retired Australians and personal trainers rate at the top of the list (59.2 and 58.9/100 respectively), with more time and focus placed on health. Retired Australians and personal trainers, on the other hand, emerged as the top scorers (59.2 and 58.9/100, respectively), reflecting their greater focus on health and well-being.

Younger and middle-aged Australians, who make up a significant portion of the workforce, have significantly poorer diets than older Australians, with 7 points differentiating 18–50-year-olds and those over 70 years (53 vs. 60 respectively).

The Workplace Connection:

It’s clear that diet quality is closely tied to occupation, with frontline workers suffering the most, despite the direct correlation between their physical wellbeing and productivity. The results are concerning, yet unsurprising when considering the typical working hours, unhealthy options, and subsequent eating culture prevalent in these types of workplaces.

This brings us to an important conclusion: Employers can play a pivotal role in the health and productivity of their employees by ensuring access to healthier food options at work. When employees have access to nutritious meals and snacks, they are more likely to make healthier dietary choices, leading to improved wellbeing and increased productivity.

Improving Diet:

While Australians may appear generally fit and healthy, our collective low diet score, which seems to be deteriorating over time, indicates that we have substantial work to do.

The good news, as Dr. Gilly Hendrie, CSIRO Research Scientist emphasises, is that “a healthy diet can be achieved with some simple changes… The things to keep in mind is reduce, increase and add variety.” In other words, Australians need to reduce the amount of processed junk food that we consume, while increasing their intake of wholesome foods such as fruits, vegetables and dairy, aiming for variety.

It’s never too late to make positive changes in eating behaviour and overall health and wellbeing. Improving our diet isn’t just a matter of personal health, it’s vital for the wellbeing and productivity of the entire nation. Let’s work together to create a happier, healthier and more productive future for all.

Click here to see the full report from CSIRO:

Source: Baird, D., Hendrie, Gilly (September, 2023). CSIRO Healthy Diet Score 2015-2023. CSIRO

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