Aussie parents struggle to make healthy food choices for their kids

The latest RCH National Child Health Poll has revealed Aussie kids aren’t getting enough vegetables in their diet, and many Australian parents believe fruit drinks may be healthier than water.

We asked parents what they know about the diet, nutrition and eating habits of their children, and here, director of the poll Dr Anthea Rhodes shares a snapshot of what we found.


Overall key findings of the poll include;

  • Over half of parents (57%) say it is hard to know which foods are healthy choices when buying food for their family
  • Two thirds of parents (67%) find it hard to know how much added sugar is in the food products they buy for their children
  • More than nine out of ten school-aged children don’t eat the recommended daily serves of vegetables
  • Parents are giving their children too many treat foods, with almost half (41%) of pre-schoolers receiving treat foods most days of the week
  • A third of children (35%) regularly consume sugar-sweetened drinks, with one in six preschoolers having sugar-sweetened drinks almost every day
  • Over a quarter of parents (26%) mistakenly believe fruit drinks may be a healthier choice than water
  • Almost a third (29%) of parents incorrectly believe children may need sports drinks to recover from regular physical activity.
  • More than a third (37%) of school aged children have not been taught how to cook or prepare food and almost half (44%) of teenagers rarely or never help to make dinner
  • Despite one in four Australian children being overweight or obese, only one in eight children in this poll were considered to be overweight or obese by their parents
  • Parents also indicate cost is a barrier to making healthy food choices, with three quarters (77%) of parents saying that they believe healthy food is generally more expensive than unhealthy food.

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