The National Diet and Nutrition Survey Years 7 & 8

The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) is a rolling programme which gathers information on food and nutrient intake from a random sample of households in the UK. The report also reviews the survey findings on dietary intakes with government recommendations and previous intakes in (Years 1 & 2). The most recent survey findings were released as combined results from Years 7 & 8 (2014/2015-2015-2016) by Public Health England on 16th March 2018.

For the first time the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) survey report has presented data on intakes of free sugars and AOAC fibre in the UK population in relation to the government recommendations of the SACN report (2015) on Carbohydrates and Health.

Free sugars

Overall intakes of free sugars exceeded the government recommended level of no more than 5% of total daily energy intake for those aged 2 years and over.

For girls and boys aged 11 to 18 years mean intake of free sugars was 14.4% and 13.9% of daily total energy intake which is more than double the SACN (2015) recommended intake. In this age group ‘cereal and cereal products’ accounted for 29% of free sugar intake and ‘soft drinks’ (not low calorie) 22% of intake.

In adults, mean intake of free sugars was 11.1% and 11.2% of daily total energy intake respectively for men and women aged 19 to 64 years and 12.1% and 10.4% respectively for men and women aged 65 years and over. The main sources of free sugars in adults were ‘sugar, preserves and confectionery’ (25%), ‘cereal and cereal products’ (24%) and ‘non-alcoholic beverages’ (21%).

Fibre intake

The National Diet and Nutrition Survey Years 7 & 8The SACN (2015) report on Carbohydrates and Health recommended that the American Association of Analytical Chemists (AOAC) method of analysis is used to calculate the fibre content in food. The new recommendation for daily dietary fibre intake (using the AOAC methods) is 30g/day for adults, 25g/day for older children aged 11 to 16 years, 20g/day for children aged 5 to 11 years and 15g/day for children aged 2 to 5 years.

For all age groups mean AOAC fibre intakes were below the government recommended intakes.

  • In children aged 1.5 to 3 years, 4 to 10 years and 11 to 18 years, mean intakes were 10.3g, 14.0g and 15.3g respectively.
  • For adults aged 19 to 64 years and 65 years and over, mean intakes were 19.0g and 17.5g respectively.

The main sources of dietary AOAC fibre across all age groups were ‘cereals and cereal products’ (38% to 44%), followed by ‘vegetables and potatoes’ (21% to 32%) and ‘fruit’ (6% to 16%).

Vitamins and minerals

An intake of vitamins and minerals below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake (LRNI) is an indicator of inadequate intake. The percentage of UK population with an intake of vitamins and minerals below the LRNI for selected vitamins and minerals is summarised below. Please have a look at the NDNS report for all the results.

Nutrient

Main findings

Calcium

  • In 11-18 year olds, 11% boys and 22% girls had intakes below LRNI
  • Adults aged 19- 64 years, 7% men and 11% women had intakes below LRNI
  • Older adults aged 65-74 years, 0% men and 11% women had intakes below LRNI
  • Adults aged 75 years plus, 4% men and 10% women had intakes below LRNI

Folate

  • Low folate status (based on red blood cell folate concentrations) was reported in 28% of girls aged 11-18 years, 15% of boys aged 11-18 years and 7% of adults aged 19-64 years

Iodine

  • An urinary iodine concentration below 50µg/L was found in 9% of children aged 4 to 10 years, 12% of children aged 11 to 18 years, 14% of adults aged 19-64 and 8% of adults aged 65 years
  • The median urinary iodine for women of childbearing age (16 to 49 years) was 102µg/L with 17% of the population below 50µg/L. This is below the WHO criterion of 150-249µg/L for iodine sufficiency in pregnant and lactating women.

Iron

  • 54% of girls and 27% of women had low iron intakes below the LRNI.

Vitamin D 

  • Low vitamin D status (as indicated by low plasma 25-hydroxy vitamin D concentrations in blood) was present in all age groups.

Reference

National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Results from Years 7-8 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2014/15 – 2015/16).