Women’s diet in Australia

In this edition of the newsletter, Williams, Thornton, Mishra and their colleagues present findings of research examining eating behaviours of Australian women and the influences on them. This research is at the leading edge of work being conducted internationally. It shows that while women consume more fruit and vegetables and generally healthier diets than do men, many women do not eat enough fruit or vegetables to promote health and prevent disease. The research is important because it underscores the complexity of understanding patterns of eating and the influences on eating behaviours. Thornton’s study, for example, shows that even though neighbourhood-level disadvantage is associated with low vegetable consumption, the poorer intakes are not a result of less supportive food environments – a finding which is at odds with what might have been expected. The research presented in this edition confirms the importance of ongoing research in this field. Without a better understanding of the community’s eating patterns and of the key influences on them, it will be difficult to develop practical and effective programs to promote healthy eating and reduce the burden of diet-related diseases. However, based on the available evidence it will be important to improve access and availability of fruits and vegetables, and to provide people with skills to shop, store, cook and prepare these foods in ways that allow them to incorporate them into their family’s diets.

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