Source: The Australian, Monday May 8 1995, p. 5
MORE Australians than ever are eating fast food at the expense of the home cooked family meal, a new study released yesterday reveals. According to the National Heart Foundation's latest survey of fast food eating habits, 83 per cent of Aust- ralians consume takeaway meals at least once a fortnight in the form of pizzas, burgers, pies and fish and chips. But while more than half of the 1200 people surveyed said they believed their diets were healthier than a year ago, the study shows that young people aged between 18 and 24 are eating more junk food than any other age group. Nearly a third of 18 to 24-year-olds admitted to eating "more" fast food than a year ago, while a quarter said they ate a "lot more" fast food than the previous year. According to the study, which was carried out by Newspoll in December last year, fast food is becoming more popular with high income earners full-time workers and males. Ninety-two per cent of those earning more than $30,0000 a year are more likely to grab a takeaway meal on the way home from work, compared to 79 per cent of low income earners. Fifty-two per cent of men are more likely to eat fast food, compared to 43 per cent of women. The survey found that respondents who claimed their weight had increased over the last 12 months were more likely to have eaten takeaway food (89 per cent) within the last two weeks. Those who worked either full-time (26 per cent) or part-time (28 per cent) were more likely than non workers (20 per cent) to have increased in body weight over the last year. The most popular "ready to eat" meal was a sandwich or roll (47 per cent) followed by hot pies, pasties and sausage rolls (35 per cent), burgers (33 per cent), fish and chips (32 per cent), pizzas (26 per cent~, fried chicken (24 per cent) and Asian food (23 per cent). The director of the Heart Foun- dation's Health Promotion Unit (Vic- toria), dietician Ms Robyn Charlwood, said survey findings for the 18 to 24- year-old age group were alarming. "Fast foods are seen as a no hassle, convenient way to eat and the Heart Foundation has no problem with people having fast food on the odd occasion, but it's this next generation of parents who seem to see fast food as a normal way of eating that we are particularly concerned about. "Although fast foods may be seen to be a cheap alternative as a main meal and are okay to eat occasionally, most fast foods are high in fat, particularly saturated fat, which leads to high blood cholesterol, clogged arteries and potential heart disease. "They also tend to be high in salt and sugar and low in fibre." -CAROLYN JONES
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