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Aust N Z J Public Health. 2012 Jun;36(3):236-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2012.00870.x.

Most Australians do not meet recommendations for dairy consumption: findings of a new technique to analyse nutrition surveys.

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Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia.



To describe the pattern of dairy consumption in Australians aged 12 years and over, and assess the extent to which the population meets national recommendations.


We developed a new method of combining quantitative data from a 24-hour dietary recall questionnaire with semiquantitative data from a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), to investigate the usual patterns of dairy consumption. We applied this technique to data from the 9,096 Australians aged 12 and over who completed the FFQ part of the most recent nationally representative nutrition study - the 1995 National Nutrition Survey.


When weighted according to the characteristics of the Australian population, 58% of male and 73% of female FFQ respondents failed to regularly meet recommendations for consumption of dairy products. While mean dairy consumption was higher in adolescents, 62% of boys and 83% of girls failed to meet their higher recommendation of three serves per day. Breastfeeding women appeared to consume more dairy but 60% consumed less than two serves per day.


Given accumulating evidence of protective effects of dairy foods for a range of metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, our observations warrant a focus on the development of cost-effective public health interventions to increase dairy consumption.

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