Australian health survey & cholesterol study media statement

Australians are including too few healthy foods in their diet, including too few healthy fats.

Findings of two Australian studies

The 2011-12 Australian Health Survey[1] released last week, found that Australians are including too few healthy foods in their diet, including too few healthy fats.

The first detailed report on Australia’s eating habits in 15 years, the findings reinforce global research that suggestspeople worldwide are not eating enough healthy fats - in countries where people have reduced their intake of saturated fats, this has not been accompanied by an increase in healthy polyunsaturated fats.[2]

In Australia, coronary heart disease continues to kill one Australian every 24 minutes[3]

Health authorities from all over the world including the World Health Organisation and the National Heart Foundation support reducing the intake of saturated fats and replacing them with polyunsaturated fats.[4]

Flora Nutritionist & Dietitian Katherine Tocchini said, “Fats are an important part of every diet, but we need to eat the right sort of fats. Australians can relish in the fact that we need to include healthy fats in our diet, especially polyunsaturated fats, such as nuts and seeds, sunflower and safflower oil and margarines and mayonnaise made with these oils. Not only will this help improve our health but also make our food and cooking taste even better.”

Also released last week, is a new study from Sydney University researchers, published in the international journal Cell Reports.[5]

The study found that elevated levels of ‘bad’ or LDL cholesterol may be linked to an increased risk of cancer cells spreading to other parts of the body.Conversely, the study found that cancer may be less likely to spread in people with increased levels of “good” or HDL cholesterol.

High cholesterol is a major health issue, affecting one in three or 5.6 million Australians - of those, nine out of 10 are unaware they have the condition (ABS 2013).[6]

Plant sterols are clinically proven to lower LDL cholesterol by an average of 10% and up to 15% when also moving to a healthy diet.For people with high blood cholesterol, the National Heart Foundation recommends eating 2-3 grams of plant sterols every day from plant sterol enriched foods.[7]

Ms Tocchini continued;“It’s incredibly important that Australians get their cholesterol tested and receive accurate, evidence based information as to how they can lower their cholesterol. Flora pro-activ which contains plant sterols, can be used in cooking and baking, not just as a spread. No other food is more effective at lowering cholesterol.”

Just one rounded tablespoon or 25g of Flora pro-activ contains the 2g plant sterols that you need, and when eaten everyday as part of a healthy diet is clinically proven to actively lower cholesterol by up to 10% in three weeks.

For further information, visit

About the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) sets out to decouple our growth from our environmental impact, while at the same time increasing our positive social impact.

It has three big goals to achieve by 2020 – to improve health and well-being, reduce environmental impact and source 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably and enhance the livelihoods of people across our value chain.

In 1999 Australia and New Zealand were the first markets to launch Flora pro-activ, our cholesterol lowering spread with plant sterols. Since then we’ve sold more than 80 million tubs with more than 20% of households benefiting from its cholesterol lowering properties every year. Unilever has been part of the Heart Foundation Tick program for more than 20 years. 93% of our spreads meet the Tick program’s strict nutrition criteria and carry the tick.

Read more about the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at

About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. Globally, Unilever has over 173,000 employees, and in 2012 generated annual sales of over €50 billion. In Australasia, Unilever employs more than 1,500 people, and has offices and manufacturing facilities throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Unilever’s portfolio features some of the world’s best-known household names. In Australasia, our name brands include Flora, Lipton, Bushells, Dove, Rexona, Lynx, Vaseline, Omo, Surf, Continental, Toni & Guy, Clear and Streets.

Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact.Supporting our three big goals are more than 50 time-based targets.See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at

Unilever has been recognised in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. 

In 2012 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan /SustainAbility latest annual survey (2012) - both for the second year running. The company is an employer of choice in many of the countries in which it operates and is seen as a symbol for innovation and leadership development.

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[1]The Australian Health Survey 2011-13

[2] Ann Nutr Metab 2013;63:229-238 (DOI:10.1159/000355437)

[3]Heart Foundation Data and Statistics.

[4]Heart Foundation Position statementDietary fats and dietary sterols for cardiovascular health. November 2008. Available from

[5]Cholesterol Regulates Syntaxin 6 Trafficking at trans-Golgi Network Endosomal Boundaries


[7]National Heart Foundation of Australia. Position Statement, Phytosterol/stanol enriched foods, August 2007 Melbourne, VIC; NHFA 2010. Available from . (Last accessed 10th May 2013).

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