New data shows nearly half of all Queenslanders admit to accessing information about healthy eating via Google before consulting a dietitian, health professional or the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Cancer Council’s Everyday Health Survey found more than 41 per cent of Queenslanders relied on Google for nutritional information, followed by friends and family (38 per cent), health professionals (37 per cent), social media (33 per cent) and the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift says community reliance on unqualified sources is cause for concern.

“The internet can provide a lot of misinformation for consumers — advice on nutrition and healthy lifestyles that can actually be harmful for Queenslanders.

“It’s vital that Queenslanders access evidence-based recommendations from a health professional, dietitian, organisations like Cancer Council Queensland or the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

“With the majority of Queensland adults overweight or obese, there has never been a more important time to get the right health information out to the community.

“Relying solely on Google or other search engines to provide balanced, nutritional advice is concerning.

“Queenslanders should discuss their personal health, including nutrition, dietary changes and healthy lifestyle adjustments with their GP.

“At least one third of all cancers are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices including eating a healthy diet, so it’s imperative Queenslanders are following the right recommendations.”

The survey found only half of respondents knew what the Health Star Rating scheme was, and only 35 percent checked nutrition panels on packaged foods every time they made a purchase.

According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, Queenslanders should enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five recommended food groups every day.

“Eat plenty of vegetables, fruit, grain foods, lean meats and poultry, legumes and beans, and milk, yoghurt and cheese,” Ms Clift says.

“It’s important to limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol for overall health and happiness.”

Around 65 percent of Queensland adults and 27 percent of Queensland children currently weigh in as overweight or obese.

Cancer Council’s Everyday Health Survey was conducted in February 2016, surveying the diet and lifestyle habits of 840 Queenslanders to improve community health and wellbeing.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.