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4364.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-12  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/10/2012  First Issue
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Contents >> Health risk factors >> Children's risk factors



CHILDREN'S RISK FACTORS


Healthy habits formed early in life can follow on throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. Conversely, less than healthy habits established in childhood may continue into adulthood, increasing a person's associated health risks such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. The following commentary discusses risk factors for children aged 5-17 years.

In 2011-12, 25.3% of children aged 5-17 years were overweight or obese, comprised of 17.7% overweight and 7.6% obese. The proportion of girls who were overweight or obese was higher than that of boys (27.1% compared with 23.6%). There has been no change in the proportion of children who were overweight or obese between 2007-08 and 2011-12.


Graph Image for Body Mass Index(a), children aged 5-17 years, 2011-12

Footnote(s): (a) Based on Body Mass Index for children whose height and weight was measured.

Source(s): Australian Health Survey: First Results




Good nutrition can have many positive health benefits. In 2011-12, 95.3% of children aged 5-11 years were reported to usually meet their recommended daily intake of 1 serve of fruit, compared to only 20.3% of children aged 12-17 years (for whom 3 serves of fruit per day are considered adequate).

Younger children were also more likely to meet the age-specific guidelines for vegetable intake than older children: 56.1% of children aged 5-7 years met the recommended intake of at least 2 serves per day, 30.8% of children aged 8-11 years met the recommended intake of at least 3 serves while 15.2% of children aged 12-17 years met the recommended intake of at least 4 serves of vegetables.

Milk is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium, which is important for forming strong and healthy bones. In 2011-12, almost all children (97.9%) aged 5-17 years consumed milk; the majority of children consumed cow's milk (95.7%), followed by soy milk (1.7%).


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