Food habits in Aborigines and persons of European descent of southeastern Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • As part of a study of risk factors for glucose intolerance and heart disease in Australian Aborigines and persons of European descent, we elicited the prevalence of food habits that may be associated with high fat and high salt intakes. Interview data were gathered from population-based samples in country towns and visitors to an Aboriginal health service in a state capital city, all in southeastern Australia. Among persons aged 13 years and over, the frequency of eating takeaway food as a meal was categorised as monthly or less, weekly, more than once per week, and daily or more often. The prevalence of eating such meals was higher among city Aborigines than those living in the country town; the prevalence was lowest among the country-town Europeans (chi 2 = 184, 6 df, P < 0.001). The prevalence of adding salt during cooking and food consumption was higher among Aborigines compared with Europeans. Among country-town Aboriginal males aged 35 or under, 25 of 40 (63 per cent) added salt to cooked food 'most of the time', compared with 66 of 185 (36 per cent) Europeans (chi 2 = 9.8, P = 0.002). Among Aboriginal females, 47 of 64 (64 per cent) were in the highest category of salt use, compared with 35 of 190 (18 per cent) of Europeans (chi 2 = 66.3, P < 0.001). About one-third of country-town Aboriginal males used dripping to fry food, but in the other ethnicity, gender and location groups, vegetable oil was the most frequent choice. The main differences in food habits were associated with ethnicity, rather than location.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

publication date

  • December 1993