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Aussie parents unsure of kids’ diet

“It’s better they eat something than nothing.” That is the common reasoning of parents who are unsure of how to deal with their little fussy eaters, according to a recent survey.

Half of parents (51 per cent) surveyed ‘regularly’ or ‘sometimes’ give their kids food that is not nutritionally ideal just so they will eat.

A national survey of 1,000 Australian parents, reveals one in two parents are ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ concerned (55 per cent) about their children’s nutrition yet 70 per cent of parents don’t know or are unsure of what the recommended daily nutrition guidelines are.

The survey, undertaken in May 2016, also reports parents are overwhelmingly concerned about the amount of sugar in children’s diet, and highlights the majority of their children as being fussy eaters.

In the first national Swisse Kids Health Report, Australian parents of 2-12 year olds were asked to list their main dietary concerns, with 45 per cent of parents surveyed saying they are ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ concerned about the amount of sugar in their kids diet and a further one-third (32 per cent) ‘moderately’ concerned. On the same scale, other serious dietary concerns include ‘too much processed food’ (36 per cent), ‘fussy eating’ (33 per cent), ‘too much food with additives (26 per cent) and ‘lacking essential vitamins’ (21 per cent).

“The report was undertaken to provide a current look into mealtimes in households across Australia and to hear what parents perceive as the number one concerns when it comes to their children’s diet and nutrition,” said Swisse head of Technical Innovation, Antoinette-Louise Barnardo.

“The results of the survey demonstrate what some of us experience in our own households. Busy parents are struggling daily to get their kids to eat enough of the right foods, and as a result are extremely concerned they aren’t getting enough nutrients.”

National Health Survey has found that only 5.4 per cent of children met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for serves of vegetables, with children aged 2-18 years consuming on average only 1.9 serves of vegetables daily.

Parents of fussy eaters are more likely to give their children vitamins (52 per cent compared to 46 per cent of all parents). The key reasons cited for using children’s supplements was for ‘overall health improvement’ (53 per cent), ‘not getting enough recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals from diet’ (33 per cent) and sickness e.g. Vitamin C for colds and flu (32 per cent). Three quarters of parents surveyed (74 per cent) said they would prefer vitamins that do not contain sugar.


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