The diet slowly killing 80 per cent of older men: report

New report shines a light on failing lifestyles of older Australians.

poor diet

A new government report has found that older Australians are failing to do the recommended amount of exercise and an ever-increasing percentage are overweight, with 81 per cent of men aged 51 to 70 considered obese.

Heart Foundation director of prevention Julie Anne Mitchell said that poor diet was a leading risk factor for heart disease – the biggest killer of Australians.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report, Nutrition across the life stages, found that across all age groups Australians do not eat enough vegetables, eat too much food that is high in energy and low in nutrients, and are generally consuming too much added sugar, saturated fat and salt.

“More than 53 per cent of premature deaths from heart disease are attributable to poor eating habits and other leading risk factors which include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and physical inactivity,” Ms Mitchell said.

The AIHS report draws on guidelines that recommend adults aged 18–64 complete at least 150 minutes of physical activity across five or more sessions each week,and that those aged 65 and over completing at least 30 minutes of physical activity on five out of seven days.

When the information was analysed in age groups, adults aged 51 to 70 and over, the results were alarming with serious repercussions for diet-related disease. And little had changed in eating patterns since 1995 despite repeated warnings.

Only about two in five (39 per cent) adults aged 51–70 do the recommended amount of physical activity, according to the report, with the levels being similar for men (41 per cent) and women (38 per cent).

Almost three in four (74 per cent) are overweight or obese, with more men (81 per cent) obese than women (67 per cent).

About half (49 per cent) of men and three in five (59 per cent) women were found to have a waist circumference that put them at a substantially increased risk of developing chronic conditions

Overall, adults in this age group:

  • fall short of meeting the recommended daily serves of all five food groups (based on average intake), and a large proportion do not meet the recommended serves of vegetables and dairy products and alternatives
  • get 7.7 per cent of their energy from added sugars and 12 per cent from saturated and trans fats (with the latter exceeding the 10 per cent recommended limit)
  • have an intake of sodium well above the level of adequate intake.

For Australians aged 71 and over (anyone in residential aged care was excluded from the survey), only about one in five do the recommended amount of physical activity, with the level being similar for men (25 per cent) and women (20 per cent).

About seven in 10 are overweight or obese, with more men in this category (76 per cent) than women (67 per cent).

Overall, adults aged 71 and over:

  • fall short of meeting the recommended daily serves for four of the five food groups (based on average intake), excluding grain foods for women, and almost everyone does not meet the recommended serves of dairy products and alternatives
  • get 8.2 per cent of their energy from added sugars and 12 per cent from saturated and trans fats
  • have an intake of sodium well above the recommended level
  • have inadequate calcium intakes (nine in 10 men and women) .

Are you aware of physical exercise recommendations? Do you fall in the overweight category? Are you careful about what you eat?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    29th Oct 2018
    make healthy food cheaper and meals easier to make or have healthy meals made for u that might help , I know it would help me I peeled vegies the other day and peeled my fingers ( arthritis )
    29th Oct 2018
    Maybe buy your veggies already cut up? There are ready made salads and chopped up pumpkin, etc.
    29th Oct 2018
    Hey tisme you wrote "have healthy meals made for u"

    FYI: There are at least three organisations which deliver healthy meals - LitenEasy, Tender Loving Cuisine, and Youfoodz to your door.

    If you watch them for periodic discount deals, you can have very healthy meals delivereed to your door for quite reasonable prices.

    As for vegetables, what's so hard about pouring a serve of frozen mixed vegatables into a bowl and microwaving it for about 7 minutes??
    Voila - freshly cooked and healthy vegetables in a flash!

    Put a serving of lean beef together with frozen potato chips in the oven at about 220ºC, and in about 20 minutes you can have a plate of meat, chips & vegetables in short order!

    I usually have a combination of LitenEasy (delicious!) prepared meals, which heat from frozen in about 8 minutes, or the easy oven cooked meal depending on my mood.

    The oven cooked food is a bit more work (not much really) but a little cheaper.

    Occasionally, I savour a couple of tasty Chiko rolls or suchlike heated in the oven for about 20 minutes for another easy alternative.

    So many healthy options .... there's no excuse for not eating healthy.
    29th Oct 2018
    LUVC02 "There are at least three organisations which deliver healthy meals - LitenEasy, Tender Loving Cuisine, and Youfoodz to your door."

    Whilst this is true (and don't forget others like weight watchers, Jenny Craig etc) they are expensive. If someone is complaining that basic in season fruit and veg are too expensive then these would be far in excess of that and way out of the budget..
    29th Oct 2018
    You can do that Paddington however it is very much more expensive and it is often almost off. Despite the bland taste of frozen vegetables they are the most economical.
    I wish they made decent pre packed meals too but they have too little meat, they are salty and basically taste pretty bad.
    Everytime my local supermarket gets a good product it only appears for a few weeks and then they disappear from the shelves - for ever.
    29th Oct 2018
    Make big salads from now on like mango and avocado added to lettuce, tomatoes, etc.
    The mini tomatoes can be thrown in whole.
    Another easy one is a mild curry with lots of veggies and some chicken or other meat.
    We make lots of soups/stews full of veggies and bony meat.
    Have yoghurt every day plus a piece of cheese for calcium, milk or soy in tea and coffee.
    Keep no rubbish foods in the house unless for a birthday or Xmas or other celebration.
    Exercise is hard for some people because of health issues but even a little is helpful like a short walk or a bit of gardening or using some light weights and individual exercises like squats and sitting to standing, etc.
    29th Oct 2018
    Good to see Alan Jones is looking after himself
    29th Oct 2018
    If the Invictus Games showed nothing else, it showed the healing power of exercise not just physically but also for mental health.

    Eating a diet with the recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables costs no more than eating the high density, low nutritional value foods. Cut out the 'rubbish' (or at least cut down) and spend the savings on fruit and veg in season. The truth is, people like the rubbish foods and are reluctant to give then up or cut down.
    29th Oct 2018
    But some doctors believe that when you are committed to exercising regularly, eating healthy, and maintaining an average healthy weight - that means you are mentally ill.

    They like to patronise people that they need to revise their diet and activities, get your cholesterol down when it isn't even above normal range, and when you do, they like to pathologise that too.
    30th Oct 2018
    I am not surprised, I see very few men (or women for that matter) that are not overweight. Meat, may equal protein but it also equals fat and high calories. So do eggs and dairy. Cake and biscuits should only be had on occasion, yes remember the days they were only eaten on special occasions. Alcohol also goes to weight increases. As you age you need nutrient dense food but low in calories, your body will just store the fat that you do not burn up, but most people keep eating like they were when they were teenagers or working people (for retired people). I have no trouble eating a wholefood plant based diet cheaply, I am always shocked at prices of meat compared to vegies and fruit. Frozen is okay but fresh is better, use a blender if you cannot cut up and add to your stews. Just eat more fruit and veg, wholefood grains, legumes, a few nuts and seeds, and cut back on meat, dairy and eggs. And of course more exercise is always good but no point if you do not change your diet and lifestyle habits.

    23rd Nov 2018
    The best item I have in the kitchen is the nutri blast. Very easy to use and clean, add your vegies/fruit/nuts/flax and blend away. One super food is Kale, amongst others, but you would find it hard to eat, blend this with berries and apple and it's quite good. Eating raw vege takes adjusting to your budds but your body will come alive. Just to add, a recent Harvard study on milk proved it's actually harmful to bones as we age (over 50) from
    23rd Nov 2018
    Good advice NHB, people just don't get it with milk, it is high in protein and causes so much problems. Too much protein equals fat, be careful with eating too much protein, it is a myth we need so much. Have you tried making Kale chips, great way to eat kale, I got an amazing food dehydrator, a great tool in the kitchen.

    23rd Nov 2018
    Thanks for the tip musicveg, I'll be looking into that food dehydrator, sounds like a good way to preserve perishables as well. Edit my last post, meant to say Nutri Bullet, great machine.

    23rd Nov 2018
    Forgot to add, nobody in history has died from lack of protein, it's basically in all food but animal protein comes with animal fat, that's what you don't want, unlike good old vegetable protein.
    23rd Nov 2018
    Yes so true, plant food is the way forward. I can recommend a good medium priced dehydrator:
    On sale today. I had a really cheap one but never worked very good, this one I find is fantastic, there are some in the range over $500 but I think this one just under $300 is well worth it, has the stainless steel trays etc, and the thermostat and timer you can adjust. I make bukinis (activated buckwheat groats), activated seeds, and flax/veg/almond meal crackers. Need your healthy snacks when you go out so you don't go and buy something unhealthy.

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