Objective: To investigate the proportion of middle-aged Australian women meeting national dietary recommendations and its variation according to selected sociodemographic and behavioural characteristics.
Design: This cross-sectional population-based study used a food-frequency questionnaire to investigate dietary patterns and compliance with 13 commonly promoted dietary guidelines among a cohort of middle-aged women participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.
Setting: Nation-wide community-based survey.
Subjects: A total of 10 561 women aged 50–55 years at the time of the survey in 2001.
Results: Only about one-third of women complied with more than half of the guidelines, and only two women in the entire sample met all 13 guidelines examined. While guidelines for meat/fish/poultry/eggs/nuts/legumes and ‘extra’ foods (e.g. ice cream, chocolate, cakes, potatoes, pizza, hamburgers and wine) were met well, large percentages of women (68–88%) did not meet guidelines relating to the consumption of breads, cereal-based foods and dairy products, and intakes of total and saturated fat and iron. Women working in lower socio-economic status occupations, and women living alone or with people other than a partner and/or children, were at significantly increased risk of not meeting guidelines.
Conclusions: The present results indicate that a large proportion of middle-aged Australian women are not meeting dietary guidelines. Without substantial changes in their diets, and help in making these changes, current national guidelines appear unachievable for many women.
Published online by Cambridge University Press 02 Jan 2007
Field of Research
111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences