Surveys are regularly commissioned to provide insights into consumption behaviours at population level. This information helps to guide policy makers with decisions about public health initiatives.
The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) is a government-commissioned survey which has been carried out as a rolling annual programme since 2008. It includes data from those aged over 18 months who live in private UK households. The findings provide a population-level indication of dietary consumption levels, to identify areas for public health improvement.
The Children’s Dental Health Survey is commissioned by the Health and Social Care Information Centre and has been carried out each decade since 1973. It provides statistical estimates on the dental health of 5, 8, 12 and 15 year old children in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Health Survey for England (HSE) has measured health and health-related behaviours in adults and children across England annually since 1991, and provides important trend data into adult obesity.
Key findings from the latest survey data published in 2014:
Only 30% of adults (aged 19-64 years) and 41% of older adults (those aged over 65 years) met the 5-a-day recommendation.
Mean energy intakes were below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for adults and children aged 11 years and over, however there is evidence of dietary under-reporting in these age groups.
Mean reported total energy intakes by age:
1126 kcal/day for children aged 1.5 to 3 years
1532 kcal/day for children aged 4 to 10 years
1972 kcal/day for boys aged 11 to 18 years
1569 kcal/day for girls aged 11 to 18 years
2111 kcal/day for men aged 19 to 64 years
1613 kcal/day for women aged 19 to 64 years
1935 kcal/day for men aged over 65 years
1510 kcal/day for women aged over 65 years
Mean total carbohydrate intakes ranged from 47.2% food energy (adults aged 65 years and over) to 52.1% (children aged four to ten years), compared with the Dietary Reference Value (DRV) of 50%.
Mean intake of non-milk extrinsic sugars (NMES) exceeded the DRV of no more than 11% of food energy across all age/sex groups. In particular, in children aged four to ten years (14.7%) and aged 11 to 18 years (15.6%).
Main source of NMES for children: soft drinks and fruit juice, cereal and cereal products (primarily cakes, biscuits and cereal products).
Main source of NMES for adults: table sugar and confectionery, soft drinks and fruit juice, and cereals and cereal products (primarily cakes and biscuits).
Mean protein intakes provided 14-15% of food energy for children and 17-18% for adults, compared with the DRV of 15% of food energy.
Mean intake of total fat met the DRV (no more than 35% food energy) in all age/sex groups except for men aged 65 years and over where on average total fat provided 36% food energy.
Mean intake of saturated fat exceeded the DRV (no more than 11% food energy) in all age/sex groups, in particular 12.6% for adults aged 19 to 64 years and 13.8% for adults aged 65 years and over.
Access the full report here