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Table of Contents Introduction Background............................................................................................. 2 Rationale................................................................................................. 2 Scope.....

................................................................................................. 2 Materials and Method Materials................................................................................................. 3 Method.................................................................................................... 3 Data Figure 1 Factors most influence Australian eating habits................................... 4 Figure 2 Average time spent on cooking............................................................ 5 Figure 3 Proportion of kinds of food in Australian diet........................................ 6 Figure 4a............................................................................................... Attitudes of eating habits and health status........................................... 7 Figure 4b Awareness of Australians towards a healthy diet................................. 8 Discussion Major Findings......................................................................................... 9 Discussion Impacts on Australian eating habits.................................................. 9 Amount of time spent cooking meals................................................ 9 Proportion of food contributing Australian diet................................. 10 Attitudes and knowledge of eating habits and health conditions...... 10 Conclusion............................................................................................ 11 Bibliography......................................................................................... 12
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Appendix Questionnaire......................................................................................... 13

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BACKGROUND

Eating habit has been a popular area that is well considered by a wide range of researchers and scientists in recent years. Not only does it reflect the culture of a particular group but also has a significant relationship with health and life expectancy. As a multicultural country, Australian eating habits vary significantly due to historical change. Different Australian ethic groups have different eating habits with their own concepts. For example, for most Asian - Australian people, rice is considered as the main food while breads play an important role in European - Australian everyday meals. However, in modern society, there is an increase in the number of parents both working outside the home. This is one of many reasons that reduce the meal preparing time. As a result, time-saving meals are becoming more common and can lead to a change in Australian eating habits. Another factor affecting eating habits might be related to health concern or advertisements.

RATIONALE This topic has been selected as eating plays an essential role in daily life and contributes to physical vitality and mental health. This report will analyse some particular factors that may affect Australian eating habits and the awareness of Australians of the link between eating habits and health conditions.

SCOPE This survey will attempt to investigate:

Factors which influence Australian eating habits The average time spent for cooking

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Proportion of kinds of food in accordance to the healthy food pyramid in Australian diet Different attitudes and knowledge among age groups towards the link between eating habit and health status

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MATERIALS The only materials used to collect data for this report were questionnaires.

METHOD The method used to collect data was conducting survey in the area around the University of New South Wales Kensington campus and Kingsford supermarket on Friday 23 May 2008 from 11pm to 2pm and from 3:30pm to 5pm. As there is a relatively high number of restaurants and supermarkets in these areas compared to the others, it is more likely to have interviewees that this report was aimed to focus on.

SAMPLE POPULATION This report was targeted to achieve the equal number of different Australian age groups to collect an adequate range of views surrounding the issue of Australian eating habits. Table 1: Interviewee age groups

Age Under 18 18 -30 31-50 51+ Total

Number 12 12 12 12 48

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DATA Figure 1.

Figure 1 demonstrates the main factors which influence Australian eating habits. According to the chart, time is the factor which has the most influence (17 respondents) while no interviewee chose the impact of advertisement. The second most influential factor is health conditions with 10 interviewees; follow by family and preference with 8 and 7 agreeing respectively.

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Figure 2.

This figure shows the average time spent on cooking daily meals. Base on this chart, the highest percentage of people spend from 31 to 60 minutes for cooking (35%). There are only 11% of people spend more than one hour. In addition, the number of interviewees who spend 15 - 30 minutes or less than 15 minutes is the same percentage (27%).

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Figure 3.

Figure 3 shows the proportion of food in accordance to the food pyramid in Australian diet. As can be seen, fish and meat are chosen by the largest proportion of interviewees as the most commonly eaten food (52%). The group of bread, rice, wheat and cereals and milk products are the second and third most eaten with 31% and 11% respectively. Finally, the smallest percentage of respondents identify milk products as the food they eat most (6%).

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Figure 4a.

Attitudes of eating habits and health status
Age group Attitude

Under 1 2 3 4 5 18 0 0 3 7 2

18 30 0 1 0 5 6

31 50 0 1 1 5 5

Over 50 0 1 1 4 6

Figure 4a illustrates attitudes among different age groups towards the link between eating habits and health status through ranking the impact of food on health from 1 (not influential) to 5 (extremely influential). Overall, the majority of interviewees in all groups chose either 4 or 5 which indicates that the link between food and health is highly recognized while none chose 1. In the 18 – 30, 31 - 50 and over 50 groups, the majority of interviewees chose 5 whereas in the under 18, only 2 did. Meanwhile, the neutral 3 was most chosen by the adolescent group (3 interviewees) compared to three other age groups (either 0 or 1 interviewee).

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Figure 4b.

Figure 4b indicates the awareness of Australians towards a healthy diet through the question of percentage and grams of fat intake daily. The oldest group has the highest percentage of correct answers (less than 30% of total calories and no more than 70 grams) which is about 70% correct. The adolescent group follows with over 60% of answers correctly. Similarly, in the range 18 - 30, the correct answers are found to be approximately 55%. Finally, those from 31 to 50 have the least correct answers, around 45%.

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MAJOR FINDINGS
• •

Time has the most influence on Australian eating habits. The greatest proportion of interviewees spends between 31 and 60 minutes for cooking. The most commonly eaten food for the majority of Australians is fish and meat. Those over 50 have both high awareness and knowledge while the under 18 have the least awareness but relatively high knowledge of the link between eating and health conditions.

DISCUSSION 1. Impacts on Australian eating habits According to figure 1, time is chosen by the highest number of interviewees as the most influences on Australian eating habits. In modern society, time pressure seems to be greater than the others, therefore people have to adjust their eating habits in accordance with time limits. In contrast, no respondents identify the impact of advertisement as the main factor. The greater number of advertisements on the media can lead to a negative effect rather than an increase in demand. Moreover, interviewees seem to be more aware of the difference between advertisements and facts, hence their eating habits are less likely to be affected by advertisements. 2. Amount of time spent cooking meals As figure 2 shows, the greatest percentage of interviewees spend an average of 31 - 60 minutes cooking meals. The range of less than 15 and 15 - 30 minutes has an equal proportion which is slightly smaller than the range of 31 - 60 minutes. According to figure 1, time and health conditions
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are the two greatest influences on Australian eating habits; therefore, it is not surprising to have the highest percentage spending 31 - 60 minutes cooking. Not only would people like to save time but they also want to have enough nutritional intake. Also, this is often the average length of time for a normal Australian meal. Both lower ranges have the same percentage which is only slightly less than the first one. This might be because fast cooking is becoming more popular and more instant food is available in food stores and supermarkets across Australia.

3. Proportion of food contributing Australian diet According to figure 3, the majority of respondents indicate fish and meat as their most commonly eaten food whereas milk products are chosen by the least. Since Australia is famous for the quality of meat, this could explain why this is their main food group. Moreover, the body size of most Australians is larger than Asians; therefore, more calories, of which the main sources are fish and meat, are needed to provide enough energy for daily activities. Surprisingly, although Australia is a country of milk, milk products are not among those eaten most. Most interviewees said that they are concerned about the level of fat when choosing food and over a half are trying to lose weight, which could explain why milk products are the least chosen. The Australian diet does not reflect the recommendation of the healthy food pyramid as the group of foods which are made from grains such as wheat and rice should be eaten most because they contain carbohydrates which provide the body with energy for physical activity and for proper organ function.
4. Attitudes and knowledge of eating habits and health conditions

As figure 4a and 4b demonstrate, the group of over 50 has both high awareness and knowledge of the effect of eating habits on health. The 31 50 age group has considerably high amount but least knowledge while the
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under 18 have the least awareness but relatively high knowledge about the issue. Those over 50 are more likely to be concerned about their eating and health conditions due to the fact that age is often associated with some health problems. They often have more knowledge because of age experience and are less affected by life pressure, so they can spend more time on medical information. The 31 - 50 have high awareness but least knowledge and this may be because of working hours and other life concerns; therefore, the time spent on the news can be limited. In contrast, the youngest often have less interest in health matters due to the least health problems compared to the others. Consequently, they have the least awareness but relatively high knowledge due to education and media.

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CONCLUSION In conclusion, the results indicate that time is the main influence on Australian eating habits with the average cooking time been from 31 to 60 minutes. The most eaten food is fish and meat and the over 50 is the only age group that has both high awareness and knowledge of the impact of eating on health. This might be because of age experience and the relationship between health concerns and ageing. Finally, this report was limited by the few questions possible and the small number of interviewees in Kensington and Kingsford. A more ideal sample could compare attitudes among urban and rural Australians with more questions in the survey.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_guide_pyramid http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-youeat/carbohydrates/ http://www.skdir.com/weight-loss.html
www.usaweekend.com/00_issues/000213/000213health.html

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Questionnaire AUSTRALIAN EATING HABITS - FACTORS INFLUENCE AND AWARENESS This survey is part of the University of NSW Foundation Year Academic Course. Questionnaires are anonymous and confidential. They will only be used for the purpose of this survey. Purpose of this survey: This survey is part of our course of study. It aims to investigate opinions about factors might influence Australian eating habits
1. Gender: (Please tick one only) 2. Age group:

Male 18-30 51+

Female

UNDER 18 31-50

3. According to you, which factor influences your eating habits? Please

number in order of importance from 1 (most influence) to 7 (least influence) _____ Time _____ Culture _____ Health conditions ______Family ______ Advertisement _____ Preference ______ Other (Please specify. eg. Price)_____________________________ 4. The approximate time you spend for cooking a meal is: Less than 15 minutes 15-30 minutes 31-60 minutes More than 1 hour

5. How much do you think food influences health? 1 2 3 Not at all Slightly influential Extremely influential 4 Neutral 5 Very influential

6. Are you concerned about the ingredients when choosing food?
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YES

NO

If YES, which factors in the ingredients are you concerned about? (Please tick one or more options) Fat level Organic content level Sugar level Fibre level Allergen level (if it includes any allergen, eg peanuts) Other (Please specify)________________________________
7. Which food do you eat most? (Please number in order from 1 (=most)

to 4 (=least)) _____ Fish/ meat/ poultry/ egg/ nut group fruit _____ Milk products wheat, cereals

_____ Vegetable, _____ Bread, rice,

8. In your opinion, how much water you should drink a day? Less than 0.5 l 0.5 – 1l 1.5 – 2l More than 2l

9. Do you think eating habit changes as we get older? YES NO UNSURE If YES, why? _____________________________________________________________________ 10. (i)

Are you trying to lose weight?

YES

NO

(ii) If YES, what is your method in particular? Medicine Exercise Eat very little Eat a smaller volume of food than usual which still provides the calories needed Combined methods (Please specify)___________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ Other___________________________________________________________ 11. (i) In your opinion, the level of fat a healthy diet should provide is: Less than 30% of total calories 30 – 40% of total calories 45 – 50% of total calories 50 – 70% of total calories
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(ii) According to you, the grams of fat per day you should provide are: No more than 70 grams No more than 75 grams No more than 80 grams No more than 85 grams

12. According to you, the grams of dietary fibre intake per day are:

10 grams grams

18 grams

35 grams

45

13. Some claim that there is a strong connection between food choices and

health. Which, if any, diseases do you think are caused mainly by poor diet?(please tick one or more options) Diabetes Heart disease Cancer Obesities Thank you for your time and cooperation Overweight/

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