SPECIAL TREAT: At Ballina Fair shopping centre Mieka Kosh, 12, father Peter and brother Ayrton, 10, of Coraki, enjoy a special
SPECIAL TREAT: At Ballina Fair shopping centre Mieka Kosh, 12, father Peter and brother Ayrton, 10, of Coraki, enjoy a special

Survey provides food for thought

By EMMA O'NEILL

JUST like 66 per cent of Australian kids aged 12 to 17, Coraki resident Mieka Kosh, is nagged by her father to eat a healthy diet and always have breakfast.

This figure was taken from a recent Newspoll survey that found more than half of 12 to 24-year-old's skipped breakfast at least once a week, and one-in-10 was choosing unhealthy breakfast options and continuing to make poor food choices throughout the day.

Mieka, 12, said she started each day with a bowl of Weetbix, but preferred to buy watermelon at the school canteen and was only taken to fast food places by her father as a 'treat'. The survey found healthy habits like these could weaken as Mieka gets older.

The survey found the percentage of young people aged 18 to 24 who skipped breakfast rose to 66 per cent from 50 per cent for those aged 12 to 17. Sanitarium Health Food company dietitian Penny Selems said the survey showed that Australians' eating habits often deteriorated as they aged.

"If they have any breakfast at all, an alarmingly large number choose options that contain shockingly high amounts of fat, salt and sugar," she said.

"As young Australians move into adulthood, it is important that parents reinforce that breakfast is the most important meal of the day."

However, according to 13-year-old Coraki resident Kirby Barker, avoiding junk food wasn't easy.

"Often it's cheaper to buy a pie or a pizza from the canteen than anything else," she said.

Kirby said she usually drank an energy drink every day at school, and often didn't have time for breakfast.

While Kirby considered convenience and cost when making decisions about her meals, another simpler answer for the rise in junk food consumption among young people was given by 19-year-old Ballina resident, Sammy (last name withheld).

She has worked at the local doughnut store for almost two years and said junk food often tasted better, looked more inviting than healthy options, and was more prevalent in advertising campaigns.

"Sometimes the fact that your parents are telling you not to eat junk makes you want to eat it," she said.



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