A SURVEY has shown four out of five Generation Z young people in New Zealand don’t use any fresh ingredients in their evening meals, and less than half are able to identify vegetables such as leek or zucchini.
The study by Weight Watchers of 1000 people, which looked at people’s eating attitudes and food knowledge, was released as part of an initiative aimed at tackling obesity
It discovered that New Zealanders were largely sedentary, don’t savour mealtimes, and the cooking skills of younger people were at risk, especially for those born after 1990.
Dr Janet Weber, from Massey University’s Food Nutrition and Human Health, said there was an obesity problem in New Zealand.
Only one in three adults were at a normal or healthy weight.
If food was not a focus, it could lead to problems.
“Some young people will use frozen vegetables a lot because it’s convenient, and in terms of nutrition that is actually fine,” she told Fairfax NZ.
Issues developed when people start eating too much unhealthy processed foods.
“If they are having high fat, high sugar, high sodium with low micro-nutrients … then that’s not good.”
“People are giving away the responsibility about food to the food industry, and people need to take it back.”
They may turn to ready-to-eat meals due to a lack of cooking skills, but cost and availability of fresh produce was also a factor.
Weber agreed people were less knowledgeable about food, but just because young people didn’t add veges to their meals now, it didn’t mean they wouldn’t as they got older.
“You can’t see if it’s a lifelong skill or if it’s a temporary thing.’’
They survey also found that on a normal day, 42 percent of New Zealanders exercise, compared to nearly 90 percent who watch TV.