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New Cancer Council SA research released today shows that two thirds of South Aussies are overweight or obese, with less than half eating the recommended daily serving of fruit and only one-tenth eating the recommended serving of vegetables.  

The research, conducted by Cancer Council SA’s Behavioural Research Team, paints a concerning picture of the state’s overall health and wellbeing.

Almost two thirds of those surveyed (63.4 per cent) reported a BMI indicating they are overweight or obese, with 46.8 per cent consuming the recommended two or more servings of fruit per day and just 12.5 per cent consuming the recommended daily serving of five or more vegetables.

Cancer Council SA Community Education Project Officer and Dietitian Nat von Bertouch said the results remain concerning and urged South Australians act.

“The single most important change we can make to our diet is to eat at least five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit each day. Research suggests that every extra serve of fruit and vegetables we eat improves our health — so even adding one extra serve to our daily diet is a great start.”

“We know that a diet low in fruit and vegetables has a direct correlation to weight gain and being above a healthy weight increases your risk of developing cancer.”

“Good diet is essential to overall health and well-being and even small changes can make a huge difference,” she said.

“A diet high in fruit and vegetables is also more likely to reduce the risk of cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, stomach and bowel. Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world and a simple change to the amount of fruit and vegetables we consume can have a very positive impact on the incidence of bowel cancer in Australia, which is even more of a reason make a change.”

With today marking the start of Smart Eating Week, Ms von Bertouch encouraged South Australians to think about what they’re eating and where possible, make simple healthy changes.

“If you’re not eating enough fruit and vegetables, or are concerned about your weight, Smart Eating Week is the perfect time to find out a bit more and commit to changing your habits,” she said.

“Simple things, like adding veggie snacks to your day is a great start. It could be as simple as fresh carrots and hummus dip or grain crackers with avocado and tomato. You can also add salad or veggies, such as lettuce or carrot, to your sandwich or include vegetarian dinners into your weekly meal plan.”

If you’re stuck for options, Cancer Council’s new How to Portion Your Plate guide provides a great guide that will help you make healthy choices.

“Remember that when planning your daily meals aim for an equivalent of half a plate of vegetables or salad for lunch and dinner.”

“They might seem like small changes, but the long term health benefits are huge,” she said.

Cancer Council’s ‘How to portion your plate guide’ has healthy recipes and meal plans. You can download it via the Cancer Council website here:

For more information on prevention and how to cut your cancer risk the Cancer Council SA website here.

The research was conducted by Cancer Council SA’s Behavioural Research Team for the report Cancer risk factors in SA: Results of the 2018 SA Population Health survey.