Australian teenagers are confused about healthy eating habits and they don’t know or don’t care about nutritional guidelines.
That’s the alarming finding from researchers at the University of Notre Dame Australia. The team surveyed 200 12- to 16-year olds about what made a healthy diet.
Lead researcher Associate Professor Fiona Farringdon said the four-year study showed girls believed being healthy meant being thin, while for boys it meant being buff.
“It appears the current approaches for health campaigns are not working,” Farringdon says.
“[Adolescents] no longer understand or care about the nutritional importance of consuming appropriate serves from all the food groups to provide maximum health benefits.”
Those surveyed also believed a healthy diet simply meant eating more fruit and vegetables.
And while they knew junk food was bad for them, they were prepared to “sacrifice” healthier options in order to eat sugary or fatty foods instead.
In Australia, at least 25 per cent of children and adolescents are obese or overweight, according to Government data.
Associate Professor Farringdon notes social media and advertising were skewing adolescent’s ideas of what it meant to be healthy, often at the expense of a balanced diet.
She believes nutrition education needs to be more appealing to youth, with current health campaigns and food guides also too adult centric.
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