PhD researcher Kyoko Miura, from the QUT Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, has investigated the amount of takeaway food Queenslanders ate and found men were more likely to eat it than women, the young ate more than older people and the least educated ate significantly more.
Ms Miura undertook a survey of Queenslanders to gain an updated view on their eating habits.
Prior to this study, the most recent data available on the population’s takeaway consumption was the 1995 National Nutrition Survey.
Ms Miura said while nutritional knowledge did not alter whether takeaway food and beverages were consumed, it did affect the type of takeaway that was chosen.
“The demand for takeaway foods is similar among people who have different levels of nutritional knowledge; however, nutritional knowledge may play an important role for types of takeaway food chosen.” Ms Miura said.
“Those who had low nutritional knowledge were more likely to report eating ‘less healthy’ takeaway foods, such as pizza, fried foods and soft drinks, compared with those who had high nutritional knowledge, who ate ‘healthy’ takeaway foods, such as sushi, sandwiches and fruit juice.
“Participants who chose ‘less healthy’ takeaway foods were also less likely to report eating the recommended levels of fruit and vegetables (two or more serves of fruit per day and four or more serves of vegetables per day).”
Ms Miura said the people most likely to eat takeaway food of any kind were young people, and those who were socioeconomically disadvantaged.
“About 55 per cent of people aged 25 to 29 years and 46 per cent aged 30 to 35 ate takeaway food at least once a week, while people aged 60 to 64 ate takeaway food least often, with only 20.7 per cent eating it at least once a week,” she said.
“Men were more likely to eat takeaway food at least weekly (42.7 per cent) compared with women (33.7 per cent).
“The least educated were significantly more likely to report frequently eating takeaway overall, with 45.9 per cent regularly eating ‘less healthy’ food options and 45.3 per cent eating ‘healthy’ food options.”
Ms Miura said people who ate takeaway foods regularly were influenced by time constraints and beliefs that takeaway foods were value for money; cheaper than cooking and nutritious. They felt cooking was a chore or infrequently cooked a meal from basic ingredients.
She said consumption of “less healthy” takeaway food, and associated low level of fruit and vegetable intake, among socioeconomically disadvantaged groups might contribute to their higher rates of obesity and diet-related chronic disease.
“Therefore, I will be researching why these dietary differences exist and what factors contribute to them,” she said.
“This is important information so that we can develop health promotion programs and interventions to reduce dietary differences and consequently, reduce health differences within the population.”
Media contact: Rachael Wilson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 1150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.