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Australians more Health Conscious than Americans, Britons & New Zealanders - Just as Overweight

These are the main findings of the latest Roy Morgan International Survey of: • 24,122 people aged 14 and over in Australia , conducted between April 2004 and March 2005; • 4,234 people aged 14 and over in the UK , conducted between October 2003 and February 2005; • 3,394 people aged 14 and over in the USA , conducted between March 2004 and February 2005; and • 12,696 people aged 14 and over in New Zealand , conducted between May 2004 and March 2005.

Australians pay more attention to the food they eat than Americans, Britons and New Zealanders yet are almost exactly as overweight or obese as their overseas counterparts, according to the latest Roy Morgan International data. Thirty-four per cent of Australians, Britons and New Zealanders are overweight, with only marginally fewer Americans classified overweight (31%). Australians and New Zealanders are just as likely to be obese as each other (24%), more likely than Britons (16%) and slightly less likely than Americans (28%). Australian women are more likely than Australian men to say that they pay attention to the food they eat.

Australians are more aware of the food they eat than those in the USA, UK and New Zealand. For 34% of Australians “A low fat diet is a way of life for me” which compares favourably with New Zealanders (32%), Britons (28%) and Americans (24%). More Australian women follow a “Low fat diet as a way of life” than Australian men (40% cf 29%).

More Australians “Try to buy additive free food” (41%) than those in any of the other nations surveyed. Almost half of Australian women avoid additives (47%) whereas only 35% of Australian men do the same. Britons and New Zealanders are equally concerned about food additives with 34% trying to buy additive free food, whilst Americans are least concerned as only 28% “Try to buy additive free food”.

Substantial numbers of people in all countries surveyed are aware of the amount of red meat they consume, with over half of all Australians (52%) “Eating less red meat these days”. Just under half of those in the UK (48%), USA (47%) and New Zealand (46%) agree that they are “Eating less red meat these days”. In Australia, women (59%) are more likely than men (45%) to be “Eating less red meat these days”.

Despite a greater concern for the food they eat, Australians (40%) are less likely to be an acceptable weight than those in the UK (48%). New Zealanders (40%) and Americans (39%) are also less likely to be an acceptable weight than Britons.

Across all countries some clear patterns emerge when the results are analysed by gender. In all countries surveyed, women are more likely to be underweight or have an acceptable weight than men. In all populations men are more likely to be overweight than women. However women are more likely than men to be obese, except in the USA, where men (29%) are marginally more likely to be obese than American women (27%).

This trend holds in Australia, with women more likely to be underweight (3% cf 1%) or an acceptable weight (44% cf 36%). Australian men are substantially more likely to be overweight (42%) than Australian women (27%) but less likely to be obese (21% cf 26%). A constant feature across all countries is the 2% of respondents classified as underweight.

These are the main findings of the latest Roy Morgan International Survey of:

•  24,122 people aged 14 and over in Australia , conducted between April 2004 and March 2005;

•  4,234 people aged 14 and over in the UK , conducted between October 2003 and February 2005;

•  3,394 people aged 14 and over in the USA , conducted between March 2004 and February 2005; and

•  12,696 people aged 14 and over in New Zealand , conducted between May 2004 and March 2005.

Weight Category

Respondents were asked to estimate their height and weight and these figures were used to calculate the respondents’ Body Mass Index (BMI)*. BMI can be used to calculate whether a person is underweight, of acceptable weight, overweight or obese according to their height.

Australia

NZ

UK

USA

Total

Men

Women

Total

Men

Women

Total

Men

Women

Total

Men

Women

Weight Category

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Underweight

2

1

3

2

1

2

2

1

2

2

2

2

Acceptable Weight

40

36

44

40

34

45

48

46

50

39

32

46

Overweight

34

42

27

34

42

28

34

39

29

31

37

25

Obese

24

21

26

24

23

25

16

14

19

28

29

27

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

 

*BMI is determined by your weight in kg divided by your (height in metres)². A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 25. A result below 18.5 indicates that you may be underweight; a figure above 25 indicates that you may be overweight, and a result above 30 indicates you may be obese.

 

Attitudes to Nutrition and Sport

Respondents were asked if they agreed or disagreed with the following statements:

•  “I always think of the number of calories in the food I’m eating

•  “I would like to be able to lose more weight

•  “A low-fat diet is a way for life for me

•  “I love to do as many sports as possible

Australia

 

NZ

 

UK

 

USA

Total

Men

Women

 

Total

Men

Women

 

Total

Men

Women

 

Total

Men

Women

Attitude to

Nutrition an

Sport

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

A low fat diet

is a way

of life for me

34

29

40

 

32

26

38

 

28

22

34

 

24

19

29

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I try to buy
additive free food

41

47

35

 

34

28

39

 

34

26

42

 

28

25

31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm eating less
red meat these

days

52

45

59

 

46

37

53

 

48

39

56

 

47

39

54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love to do

as many sports

as possible

26

33

19

 

26

34

19

 

24

32

16

 

25

32

18

 

For further information:

Gary Morgan :   Office (03) 9224 5213   Mobile 0411 129 094   Home (03) 9419 3242

Michele Levine :   Office (03) 9224 5215   Mobile 0411 129 093   Home (03) 9817 3066

 

The Morgan Poll is conducted by the ONLY Australian and New Zealand member of the Gallup International Association.

No other public opinion poll taken in Australia or New Zealand has this qualification.