4363.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/05/2014   
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Contents >> Nutrition >> Food Intake

FOOD INTAKE

Food intake in the 2011-12 NNPAS is derived from the food, beverage and supplement intakes reported in the 24-hour dietary recall. Intake data were coded to an 8-digit food code and also classified into food classification groups (Major, Sub-major and Minor levels). See AUSNUT 2011-13 for detail.


FOOD GROUPS

When interpreting the reported consumption from food groups it is important to consider that these groups do not consist of exclusive food types and may not be the only place within the classification where particular ingredients were assigned. For example, ‘Vegetables’ is the major food group where vegetables were coded when they were reported as separate foods (e.g. baked potato), vegetable mixtures (e.g. cooked broccoli and carrot) or as a part of a dish which was predominately made of vegetables (e.g. vegetable curry). However, there are numerous other places within the classification where vegetables are found, such as in the Cereal based products and dishes (e.g. pizzas, burgers), Soups (e.g. minestrone), Meat, Poultry and Game products and dishes (e.g. beef and vegetable stir-fry). This is due to the way respondents reported the food as consumed. While some foods were disaggregated in coding (e.g. sandwiches), most were not. This coding and data processing approach is largely consistent with the 1995 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) approach, although the food supply and consumption patterns have now changed significantly, in that there are a higher proportion of consumers of the mixed dishes sub-major groups.


DISCRETIONARY FOODS

In addition to food groups, foods have also been identified as discretionary or non-discretionary according to the Australian Dietary Guidelines1. See Discretionary Foods.


TIME AND OCCASION COMBINATIONS

Foods were reported by ' time started consuming', 'eating occasion' and 'whether it was eaten in combination with another food'. The combination codes used are shown in the table below along with examples.


TIME AND OCCASION COMBINATION CODES
Food combination typeCommon examples

0. Not applicable Water; fruit; casseroles; curries, cafe latte, cheeseburger (i.e. products where all ingredients are captured in single food code)
1. Beverage with additionsInstant coffee + milk/ sugar; tea + milk/sugar; hot chocolate powder + milk
2. Cereal with additionsWheat biscuits + milk;
3. Bread/baked products with additionsToast + spread; crackers + cheese; pancakes + maple syrup
4. SaladSalad + dressing (but many salads are '0' as they're coded to single food code e.g. potato salad, coleslaw)
5. Sandwiches/wraps/rolls with fillingsBread/bread roll/flat bread + spread/fillings;
6. SoupSoup + cream
7. Frozen mealRavioli + sauce
8. Ice cream/frozen yoghurt with additionsIce cream + cone
9. Vegetables with additionsCorn + butter
10. Fruit with additionsStrawberries + yoghurt
12. Meat, poultry, fishSteak + gravy
14. ChipsCrisps + dip
99. Other mixturesPasta + pasta sauce/cheese; rice + soy sauce



MEAN VS MEDIAN INTAKES

Both mean and median amounts of foods consumed are output in data tables in the Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Foods and Nutrients, 2011-12. The mean amount of food consumed is the average amount consumed by the relevant population groups including non-consumers (i.e. zero amounts). This statistic is most commonly used for making comparisons of mean daily food intake between population groups, as it provides some information about the average ‘usual’ intake of a food by a population group (for more information see Usual Nutrient Intakes). Because values for mean intake of individual foods can be aggregated, they are particularly useful when a broader food group is being broken down into component groups.

The median amount of food consumed is the middle value of observed intakes for only those individuals who actually consumed one or more foods from the relevant food group. This is the amount eaten by at least 50% of consumers of the food group. This value is most useful to show the actual level of intake of different types of foods when consumed. It is therefore useful for comparisons of the amounts eaten, either of the same food in different population groups, or of different foods within a population group. Medians for component food groups cannot be added up, because the consumers of each component food group are not necessarily the same individuals. Median intakes of food by consumers have been presented rather than means, as the intake distribution for most foods is skewed upwards (positively), and mean values are influenced more heavily by the shape of the distribution than medians.

The table below illustrates the difference between mean and median intakes of foods. For the major food group Milk products and dishes, it is possible to sum the mean intakes of all of its sub-major food groups to give the overall mean intake, but this is not possible for the median intakes. This table also shows that when the proportion of persons consuming foods is low, the mean will tend to be lower than the median, as the zero amount intakes are counted towards the mean but ignored when calculating the median.

MEAN AND MEDIAN AMOUNTS CONSUMED FROM MILK PRODUCTS AND DISHES
All Persons (Total 2 years and over)
Major and sub-major food groups
Mean daily food intake for all respondents (grams)
Median daily food intake for consumers (grams)
Proportion of persons consuming foods (%)

Milk products and dishes
238.9
207.0
85.1
Dairy milk (cow, sheep and goat)
152.2
156.0
68.4
Yoghurt
23.8
122.7
16.3
Cream
1.6
26.0
3.5
Cheese
11.5
25.0
32.3
Frozen milk products
16.3
83.0
14.8
Custards
2.5
100.0
1.8
Other dishes where milk or a milk product is the major component
3.4
125.0
2.4
Flavoured milks and milkshakes
27.5
425.1
5.5

ENDNOTES

1 NHMRC 2013, National Health and Medical Research Council (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, <https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/n55>, Last accessed 05/05/2014. Back

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