Research released to coincide with Global Hand Washing Day
Some good news on the hand hygiene front as it seems that younger people in Australia (classed as 18 – 34 years of age) are getting more hands on with it, according to a recent report on the Food Safety News website.
This seems to be particularly good news on the grounds that younger people were deemed “less likely than older age groups to always wash their hands after going to the toilet” although there was much less of an age gap before food was touched.
The article quotes the findings of the Food Safety Information Council (FSIC) which release the information to coincide with the recently occurring Global Handwashing Day the theme for which is this year “Clean hands are within reach”.
The FSIC’s report, involved 1,238 people of eighteen years of age and older. And the hand hygiene improvement was, says the article, considerable.
“Two thirds of 18 to 34 year olds said they always washed their hands before handling food, which is up from 57 percent in 2022.”
The FSIC’s council communication director Lydia Buchtmann was reported as acknowledging the decreasing of the hand washing age anomaly.
Why hand washing is so important
Buchtmann emphasised the scale of the problem that a lack of hand washing creates. She mentioned Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/ report – the Annual Cost of Foodborne Disease in Australia, which was carried out by the Australian National University. https://www.anu.edu.au
The figures make stark reading.
- There are an estimated 4.67 million cases of food poisoning each year in Australia alone
- They result in 47,900 hospitalisations and 38 deaths
- They cost the Australian economy AUS $2.1 billion.
“Poor handwashing could be a major contributor to these figures,” said Buchtmann.
Key hand washing moments
The FSIC are quoted as advising on key moments to wash hands (such as after going to the toilet, before handling and eating food – and particularly after touching raw meat and shellfish, for example).
And finally, there is still seems to be a gender difference when it comes to a lack of appropriate hand hygiene, according to published research.
“Men were less likely than women to always wash their hands after going to the toilet with 79 percent versus 86 percent of women and before touching food at 62 percent versus 70 percent of women.”
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