Objectives: This study reports on the distributions of food and nutrient intakes by socio-demographic factors for a large population sample of mid-aged Australian women participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. Design: This cross-sectional population-based study used the Cancer Council of Victoria food frequency questionnaires to derive estimates of food and nutrient intakes. Setting: Nationwide community-based survey. Subjects: A total of 10561 women aged 50-55 y, at the time of the survey in 2001. Results: Analysis showed favourable patterns of food intake, with frequent consumption of many foods that are promoted as components of a healthy diet (eg, fresh fruit, leafy green and other vegetables, bread, cereals, milk and meat). Intakes of both foods and nutrients varied significantly across socio-demographic groups, with unmarried women, and women in 'labouring' occupations (eg, cleaner, factory worker, kitchenhand) having poorer nutrient intake. Conclusions: Although many mid-aged women in this sample had generally healthful diets, women in certain socio-demographic groups (particularly unmarried women and those in labouring occupations) had nutrient intakes of concern. As well as helping to address the dearth of current data on dietary intakes in the Australian population, the results highlight the need for continued targeted public health strategies aimed at improving diet of women from the various socio-economic backgrounds.