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Australian diet the worse, says CSIRO study

Pizza Source: Ish

The latest healthy diet score survey from the CSIRO shows many Australians have a diet that is below par.

Australians are being called on to adopt healthier eating habits following the results of a major survey on diet.

The latest report card from the CSIRO shows many have a diet that is below par.

Leah Lucas remembers the moment she realised she should make healthier eating choices - "I was going to a function with my husband, it was quite fancy.  And I tried on my favourite cocktail dress, and I was quite upset because I didn't really fit in it anymore."

She logged on to the CSIRO website and filled out the healthy diet score survey, which rated her diet 61 points out of a possible 100.

A year on she's lost 23 kilograms, and now scores 80 - "I just feel great. I've got loads of energy. I'm fitting into clothes. Funnily enough the cocktail dress is now too big, so I had to upgrade!"

The latest CSIRO survey shows Australians collectively score 59 points out of a possible 100 on diet.

Fewer than half (49 per cent) hit the benchmark for fruit intake.

Junk food is the downfall, with only one per cent of people abstaining, and about a third eat more than the recommended intake.

Professor Manny Noakes from the CSIRO says halving the intake of junk food - or "discretionary food" - would make a big difference - "You can boost your score by ten points if you double the amount of vegetables you eat and halve the amount of discretionary foods."

And, she says, multiculturalism has some positive benefits for health too - "If you go to a supermarket now, you'll see a whole variety of vegetables and fruits that you wouldn't have seen 10 years ago. So there certainly have been some positive influences from a multicultural Australia."

Women scored better overall than men, while retirees scored better than young people.

People working in the construction industry scored the lowest.

Sydney tradesmen Anthony and Liam are going against the trend, buying fresh ingredients from the supermarket to make their lunches.

But they admit they are more the exception than the rule - "We got spinach here, we've got tabbouleh, we got eggplant. We got tomato. We're just making a nice healthy vegetarian wrap." / "As far as majority goes, it is quite an unhealthy diet that we do see on the site. / "A lot of energy drinks." / "It's changing pretty quickly I think the whole meat pie, Coca Cola in the morning thing is becoming less apparent these days."

It's the kind of lifestyle change health experts want to see happening more often.