The NDNS stands for National Diet and Nutrition Survey. It carries out continuous studies assessing the diet and nutritional status of the UK population. NDNS works alongside and is funded by Public Health England (PHE) and the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The main findings of the most recent report (Years 7 & 8 combined) are outlined below. This report covers 2014/15 – 2015/16:
- The UK populations average intake of free sugars was over double the recommendation throughout all age groups.
- The mean fibre intake of children has declined, but there no significant change in adult fibre consumption. Within all age groups there was only 10% or less who met the recommendations of fibre intake.
- Fat intake is still being exceeded. On average adults consume 12.5% of their food energy from fat, this is over the recommended 11% total energy intake.
- Consumption of fruit and vegetables remains much the same, except the old adult group which intakes have declined. Much of the population is still not reaching the ‘5-a-day’ target (31.5% adults and 8% children reach it).
- Lower intakes of red and processed meat have been found but men 19+ still over-consume and have a bigger intake than 70g/day.
- Oily fish consumption levels are still low (<140/1 portion per day) and no change from previous years were found.
- There is a low vitamin D status throughout the different age groups. There was a low level of iron among both girls (54%) and women (27%). There was low blood folate levels found in 28% girls in the 11-18 year old group, 15% boys in the same group and 7% adults in the 19-64 year group. Iodine intakes met World Health Organisation criteria.
- There was originally just one group entitled ‘older adults’, but this has now been broken down into two groups within this report: older adults aged 65-74 and older adults aged 75+.
Free Sugars. The current recommendation is that free sugars should contribute to no more than 5% of your daily total energy intake.
Free sugars include monosaccharides, disaccharides which are added to a variety of foods by not only the manufacturer but by the cook and consumer also. They also include sugars naturally occurring foods such as syrups, honey and fruit juices. Lactose (milk sugar) in milk and milk products excluded as well as the natural sugars found in whole fruits and vegetables. Boys and girls aged 4 to 18 years and men aged 19 to 64 years all had a lower intake of free sugars as a percentage of total energy intake in Years 7 and 8 (combined) compared with Years 1 and 2 (combined). Therefore, the rate of free sugars as a percentage of total energy intake is decreasing.
In this survey, the average intake of free sugars was over double the recommendation throughout all age groups. Only a small minority of adults and older adults meet the recommendation. The main source of free sugars were cereal & cereal products along with non-alcoholic beverages; including fruit juices and soft drink, sugar, preserves and confectionery.
Fibre: The daily recommendation for fibre is 30g (adults), 25g (children 11-16yrs), 20g (children 5-11yrs) and 15g (children 2-5yrs);
In all age groups there was only 10% or less who met the recommendations of fibre intake. In children the mean intake of fibre per day was 13.2g. In this survey the average adult consumed 19.0g compared to the older adult who consumed 17.5g. The main source of fibre was from cereals and cereal products, vegetables, potatoes and fruit.
Fat, saturated fat and trans fat;
In all age groups except the 75+ age group, the average total fat intakes meet the recommended suggestion of no more then 35% of total intake. All groups are consuming too much saturated fat (ie. They are consuming more than 11% of total energy intake from saturated fats).
The mean intakes of trans fat was 0.5-0.7% of the food energy for adults and older adults and 0.4-0.5% of the food energy (total energy intake excluding energy from alcohol) for children. This is well below the recommendation of 2%.
Fruit and vegetables;
Adults consumed 4.2 portions of fruit and veg per day, older adults (65-74) consumed 4.3 and older adults (75+) consumed 3.4. However, 11-18 year olds only consumed on average 2.7 portions per day. Not even half of the groups consumed the recommended 5 portions a day. Only 31% adults, 32% older adults (65-74), 19% older adults (75+) and 8% of the 11-18 age group ate their 5 a day.
There was a significantly lower consumption of fruit and vegetables within the group of adults aged 65-74 years in this Years 7 and 8 compared to Years 1 and 2. There were no significant changes in any other groups.
Red and processed meat has a recommendation of 70g/day:
In Years 1 and 2 compared to Years 7 and 8, these groups had a lower intake of red and processed meat. These groups included; children aged 4-10 years, adults aged 19-64 years and women aged 65 years and over. There were no significant differences in any other groups.
The average intake for women still meets recommendations, but the male intake still exceeds 70g/day.
Oily fish has a recommendation of 140g a week;
Oily fish consumption remains below recommendations (less than 1 portion or 140g per week) in all groups. Both older adult groups consumed below the recommendations which has been the case since 2008.
Vitamins and Minerals;
The average daily consumption of the majority of micronutrients from food were above or close to the reference nutrient intake for the older age groups, except for vitamin A and riboflavin. There is a low vitamin D status throughout the different age groups, including the older population. The minerals had a few exceptions, including magnesium, potassium, selenium which were all below the reference nutrient intake.
There was a low level of iron among both girls (54%) and women (27%).
There was low blood folate levels found in 28% girls in the 11-18 year old group, 15% boys in the same group and 7% adults in the 19-64 year group. The recommendation of folate for adults is 400mg but if you wish to become pregnant you should increase the dosage to 800mg daily in order to help prevent neural tube defects in the unborn child.
All age and sex groups met the WHO criteria for an adequate iodine consumption.