Exploring young Australians' understanding of sustainable and healthy diets: A qualitative study

Exploring young Australians' understanding of sustainable and healthy diets: A qualitative study

Rimante Ronto1, Golsa Saberi1, Julia Carins2, Keren Papier3, and Elizabeth Fox4

1 Department of Health Systems and Populations, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW2109, Australia

2 Social Marketing @ Griffith, Griffith University, QLD4111, Australia

3 Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

4 Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA

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This qualitative study aimed to explore young Australians’ perspectives, motivators and current practices in achieving a sustainable and healthy diet.


Semi-structured online interviews were conducted with young Australians. Interviews were audio-recorded using the online Zoom platform, transcribed and analysed using a deductive analysis method by applying the Theoretical Domains Framework and inductive thematic data analysis.


Young Australians recruited via social media platforms, noticeboard announcements and flyers.


Twenty-two Australians aged 18 to 25 years.


The majority of participants were aware of some aspects of a sustainable and healthy diet and indicated the need to reduce meat intake, increase intake of plant-based foods, reduce food wastage and packaging and reduce food miles. Young adults were motivated to adopt more sustainable dietary practices but reported that individual and environmental factors such as low food literacy, limited food preparation and cooking skills, lack of availability and accessibility of environmentally friendly food options and costs associated with sustainable and healthy diets hindered their ability to do so.


Given the barriers faced by many of our participants, there is a need for interventions aimed at improving food literacy and food preparation and cooking skills as well as those that create food environments that make it easy to select sustainable and healthy diets. Future research is needed for longitudinal larger scale quantitative studies to confirm our qualitative findings. In addition, the development and evaluation of individual and micro-environmental-based interventions promote sustainable and healthy diets more comprehensively.



Publication details

Ronto, R., Saberi, G., Carins, J., Papier, K., & Fox, E. (2022). Exploring young Australians’ understanding of sustainable and healthy diets: A qualitative study. Public Health Nutrition, 25(10), 2957-2969. doi:10.1017/S1368980022001513