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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    We eat out a lot, does this contribute to childhood obesity?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Priya Iyer


    With over 16+ years experience in the field of nutrition & dietetics, Priya specialises in rehabilitation (covering neurology, burns, aged care & disability) and has … View Profile

    NSW Population Health Survey (2007-2008) reveals that ~ $40% of girls & ~55% of boys in late primary school years drink >1 cup of soft drink daily. And, ~ 60% of children do not eat the required daily amounts of vegetables. There is also evidence that parents influence children’s’ food choices & behaviours.
    Poor food choices, be it eating at home or outside is a risk factor for childhood obesity. If the food choices outside are predominantly processed, poor nutrient quality foods (fried etc), the risk increases. Suggest making healthy, informed food choices whilst eating out to reduce the risk. An Accredited Practising Dietitian will be able to assist you in making informed food choices. Also, check this site for some useful healthy meal ideas & substitutes.

  • 1


    Daniela Manche

    Sports Dietitian

    Daniela Manche is a consultant sports dietitian for Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA), a professional organisation of dietitians specialising in the field of sports nutrition. For … View Profile

    Eating out often can insidiously increase the amount of calories eaten, as you have little control over the recipe used for the meal and the portion it is served in. However, you don't need to avoid eating out entirely to manage this - just choose healthier options that are available to you. My tips would be choose a salad or an entree-sized pasta/risotto (with a tomato-based sauce), check with the waiter if you are unsure of the ingredients or portion size and ask for dressing etc on the side so that YOU control how much you eat. Watch your beverages as well - opt for water, diet soft drinks or herbal teas where available. 

  • 1


    Carlia Lozo

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Personal Trainer

    Welcome to Wellbeing is a private dietetic practice specialising in nutrition and eating behaviour counselling to individuals with weight and eating concerns. Our team provide … View Profile

    When we eat out at cafés, restaurants and fast food restaurants we tend to eat more and consume a higher amount of energy (kilojoules or calories) than if we had prepared and cooked the meal at home. The increase in energy may be coming from larger portion sizes or energy dense foods (high fat content).
    Poor food choices when eating out may contribute to weight gain. However, it is possible to enjoy the eating out experience without putting on the extra weight. Speak with an Accredited Practising Dietitian for tips on eating healthier when eating out.

  • 1


    Chloe graduated from Flinders’ University in 2008 and has since worked as a Dietitian in clinical, community and private practice, and as a university lecturer. … View Profile

    It can, but it does not have to. The same guidelines to healthy eating apply to eating out, as well as when eating at home. Choose meals that contain a significant amount of vegetables, for example a side salad if at an Italian restaurant, choose healthy cooking methods, such as grilled or stirfried rather than deep fried. Take note of portion size, or share a meal between two as often there will be enough! When ordering ask for any dressings or sauces to be on the side. As you are not the chef, it does make it harder to know exactly what is in the meal, but do not be afraid to ask questions.

  • 1


    Gabrielle Maston

    Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    A qualified Dietitian, Nutritionist, Exercise physiologist and Personal trainer. Gabrielle studied at the nutrition and sport and exercise science at the University of Sydney. During … View Profile

    Eating out will cause weight gain if the total energy of the diet is not controlled. Typically food eaten out side the home are a lot more energy-dense. This is because of the way it's cooked: deep fried, coated in fatty sauces and excess sugar

    In addition to this portion sizes served are usually too big for one person. If you do eat out a lot and you're not exercising to compensate. Weight gain will occur.  

    If your child is already overweight, to try to minimize the amount of times  they consume takeaway.

    Hany tips to follow:

    • Limit eating out to 1-2x week only
    • Limit deep fried food and creamy based sauces 
    • Always provide salad with meals
    • Limit soft drink instead drink water
    • Increase activity levels to compensate eg take your child bike riding 

  • Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    At its simplest, obesity results from people consuming more calories than their bodies burn, but it's a more complex problem than that. People didn't decide to become overweight. Their weight gain is a consequence of complicated changes in the environment, where food is more readily available and opportunities for physical activity are lacking.  One contributing factor is the fact that the way we eat has changed over the last 50 years. We are eating more processed foods and eating out a lot more frequently. The foods that are offered in restaurants, snack shops, and in vending machines are higher in sugar, calories, and fat than what we typically prepare in our own homes. We are surrounded by food. We're constantly bombarded by it. We're consuming larger portion sizes and more calories than ever before. When we eat out we tend to finish everything on our plate – and we want value for money!  In addition there is the temptation to purchase less healthy foods and many sugary beverages. When you are in a restaurant we often consume alcoholic drinks which we would not have at home.


    There is nothing to beat a healthy fresh home prepared meal in the fight against obesity!

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