The Australian Eating Survey® (AES) is a simple-to-use online tool however users may have some questions about the survey.

The AES team has devised a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to assist in understanding the Survey.

  • General questions about the AES
  • FAQs for Individuals who wish to use the AES to assess their own diet or purchase for immediate family and friends.
  • FAQs for Researchers
  • FAQs for Dietitians and other clinicians

In addition for researchers, dietitians and other clinicians, a series of video tutorials have been produced to assist with the management and administration of the AES.

Training Video 1: Account Management

Training Video 2: Assigning Surveys

Training Video 3: Managing Surveys

Training Video 4: Participants or Patients Completing the Survey

Training Video 5: Accessing Participant or Patient Feedback Reports

Feel free to contact the AES team for any further enquiries.

General FAQs

The AES is suitable for individuals aged 2 years and above. It is not recommended that the AES be used for individuals younger than 2 years of age. The AES asks you about how often you eat foods commonly consumed in Australia. Therefore individuals who have food intolerances or allergies or who avoid certain food groups may not get an accurate assessment of their usual intake in this instance.
You will be asked how often you eat a select number of foods in the past few of months. The foods that are listed have been selected as they are representative of the majority of foods eaten by Australian children, adolescents and adults. When answering the AES questions consider how often you’ve eaten the foods over the past 3-6 months. The time range may be further specified by researchers for individuals who are participating in research studies.
The AES takes around 15 minutes to complete. Your feedback report (if made available to you) will be available within 5 minutes of completing the AES.
The AES provides an estimate of your usual food and nutrient intake. This includes energy, protein, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, alcohol, fibre. The current version of the AES also assesses 12 nutrients: thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folate, calcium, vitamin A, phosphorous, zinc, iron, magnesium, sodium and potassium. We are currently working on including more nutrients into the analysis and will continue to add more as these become available with the release of updated food composition databases.
Your AES results are compared to the Nutrient Reference Values and the Australian Dietary Guidelines developed using the best available evidence and endorsed by the National Health and Medical Research Council. You can find out more about these national nutrition recommendations at www.eatforhealth.gov.au
If you are wishing to purchase a survey for yourself or for your family or friends, please click here

If you are a researcher, dietitian or other clinician wishing to purchase the AES in bulk, please click here

FAQs for Individual Users

Yes. A report will not be generated until all questions in the AES have been completed.
If you do not complete the AES in one sitting you can come back and finish at a later date. To access your AES and complete at a later date, use the same link to the survey that you were sent via email. You will need to re-enter your username and password, these details will also be in the same email that contains the link.

After you complete the survey, your responses will be analysed and your feedback report generated. This process should only take a couple of minutes to complete. You will receive an email that will contain a link to your AES report. This link is unique to your report and you access the report at any time. You can also print and save the report.

If you are completing the AES as part of a research study or at the request of your dietitian or other health professionals, you may not have immediate access to your report. Please contact the researcher or clinician for more information.

If you have purchased a copy for your own use and are completing it yourself or as a parent or on behalf of a minor (e.g. parent, guardian etc.), the information that you provide when completing the AES will be used to analyse the dietary intake and provide a tailored feedback report.

If you give your consent your de-identified data will pooled with the data of others and be used in an anonymous way by the AES research team at the University of Newcastle to assess the food and nutrient intakes of Australians and develop programs to help improve dietary patterns. See privacy policy for further information on how your information will be stored and used.

If you are completing the AES as part of participation in a research study or as part of your health care, you will have consented to either the researcher who is managing the research study or the clinician accessing this data.

FAQs for Researchers

If your participants or patients do not complete all questions, a report will not be generated. However, data for all your incomplete surveys will be available as part of the data export for all participants or patients. The data export is then available upon request.
The questions on eating behaviours in the first section of the AES are adapted for use in either adults or children/adolescents. The food lists across the two surveys are the same, however to calculate the food and nutrient intakes, different portion sizes are used for adults, toddlers and children. Each AES report generated after the completion of the survey questions is tailored to national recommendations for age, gender and life stage (e.g. pregnancy, breastfeeding).
No. The feedback report is only available with the online version of the AES.
The content of both versions of the AES are identical, however when completed online the AES feedback report is available for users. The report is not available in the paper-based version.
You will need to request your data by emailing eatingsurvey@newcastle.edu.au. Please request data in a minimum of 1-2 weeks in advance. Your data will be provided as a file in the statistical package of your choice (e.g. SPSS, STATA). One data export per bulk purchase of the AES is included in the purchase cost. Additional reports can be provided on request (additional fee).
Yes, you can still send your completed paper surveys to the University of Newcastle for analysis. For further information on the process for returning completed surveys for analysis, please refer to australian_child_and_adolescent_eating_survey_ffq_user_manual_1.3. We will eventually phase-out the paper version of the AES and users will be notified prior to this occurring.
Yes, you can return your unused paper copies of the AES to the University of Newcastle for credits in the online system. Once the paper surveys have been received and verified, these surveys will become available to use within your system account. Please contact the AES team for further information on this process.
Yes, the paper version of the AES will remain available for purchase, however it will eventually be phased out. We will provide users with sufficient notice when we are planning to discontinue to paper version of the AES.
Yes.  A report is automatically generated for each completed survey, however as a researcher you can control whether or not an automated email with a link to the report is sent to your participants immediately after the report has been generated.  Further information on this feature is available here.

FAQs for Dietitians and other clinicians

If your patients do not complete all questions, a report will not be generated. However if the AES has been completed up to and beyond the first section containing the General Questions – data will be available as part of the data export for all participants or patients.  The data export is available upon request. See the last question of this FAQ section for more information
™The questions on eating behaviours in the first section of the AES are adapted for use in adults. The food lists across the two surveys are the same, however to calculate your food and nutrient intake, different portion sizes are used for adults, toddlers and children. Each AES report generated after the  completion of the survey questions is tailored to national recommendations for age, gender and life stage (e.g. pregnancy or breastfeeding).
Yes.  A report is automatically generated for each completed survey, however as a clinician or researcher you can control whether or not an automated email with a link to the report is sent to your patients or participants immediately after the report has been generated.  Further information on this feature is available here.
The AES allows for a comprehensive assessment of usual dietary intake to be undertaken in less than 20 minutes. The results are presented in an interactive online report which can be saved and printed for future reference. We recommend that you disable the automatic email notification that is sent to the individual following the completion of the survey and generation of the feedback report. This will allow you to use the report within the consultation(s) with your patients. The online format of the AES offers flexibility to when and how your patients complete the nutrition assessment (e.g prior to the appointment or in the waiting room).
The AES is a food frequency questionnaire that is designed to estimate usual dietary intake over the past 3-6 months using a list of 120 commonly consumed foods. Depending on your clientele, you may wish to include addition questions or assessment tools to complement the AES analysis.
You will need to request your data by emailing eatingsurvey@newcastle.edu.au. Please request data in a minimum of 1-2 weeks in advance. Your data will be provided as a file in the statistical package of your choice (e.g. SPSS, STATA). One data export per bulk purchase of the AES is included in the purchase cost. Extra reports can be provided upon request (additional fee charged).