• Dr Emma Derbyshire

TEN of the Main (or lack of) Dietary Changes over the Last TEN Years


The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) results from 2008 to 2017, published in January 2019, assesses detailed, quantitative information on the food consumption, nutrient intake and nutritional status of the general population aged 1.5 years and over living in private households in the UK. The NDNS is a rolling programme which comprises an interview, a 4-day estimated diet diary, physical measurements and a blood and urine sample. Results are used by the Government to monitor progress toward diet and nutrition objectives of UK Health Departments and to develop policy interventions.


Change One – Sugary Drink Intake

  1. There was a significant downward trend in the percentage of children consuming sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

  2. The number of children drinking sugary drinks has fallen by a third over the past nine years.

  3. Approximately half of children do not drink sugary drinks at all.

  4. For adults aged 19 to 64 years an average reduction in the percentage consuming sugar-sweetened soft drinks of only 1 percentage point per year was observed.

  5. There was no significant reduction in adults aged 65 years and over.

  6. Women aged 65 years and over who drank sugar-sweetened soft drinks showed an average reduction in consumption of 5% per year.

  7. Overall: Some improvements but still room for change.

Change Two – Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

  1. Fruit and vegetable consumption remains largely unchanged in most age/sex groups and is still under the recommended five-a-day level.

  2. An average yearly increase in total fruit and vegetable intake of 5g/day was seen in men aged 19 to 64 years.

  3. The number of 5 A Day portions consumed over the 9-year period showed a very small or close to zero change.

  4. All age/sex groups had a mean fruit and vegetable intake below the 5 A Day recommendation.

  5. Overall: No drastic change.

Change Three – Fibre Intake

  1. Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) fibre intake in children showed a small but consistent decrease over the 9-year period.

  2. In contrast, there was a significant average increase in AOAC fibre intake of 0.3g/day per year for men aged 19 to 64 years.

  3. For the other adult age/sex groups, the changes were small or close to zero.

  4. The previous NDNS report has shown that mean AOAC fibre intake in all age/sex groups was below current recommendations.

  5. Overall: A concerning decline for children.  Urgent changes needed.

Change Four – Vitamin and Mineral Consumption

  1.  A significant average yearly reduction in vitamin A intake was observed for all age/sex groups.

  2. An average yearly reduction in riboflavin intake of between 0.01mg/day and 0.03mg/day was seen in children.

  3. A significant reduction in riboflavin intake over the 9-year period was also seen in women aged 65 years and over.

  4. A significant average yearly reduction in folate intake was observed for all age/sex groups.

  5. There was a downward trend over the 9-year period in vitamin D intake for children aged 11 to 18 years and adults and this was statistically significant for boys aged 11 to 18 years (2% per year) and adults aged 19 to 64 years (1%).

  6. An average yearly reduction in iron intake was seen in most age/sex groups.

  7. The largest yearly reduction in iron intake was seen in girls aged 4 to 10 years (0.2mg/day)

  8. A significant average yearly reduction in calcium intake of 10mg/day was observed in children aged 1.5 to 3 years and 4 to 10 years.

  9. A downward trend in iodine intake over time was observed for most age/sex groups.

  10. A significant average yearly reduction in potassium intake of between 14mg/day and 23mg/day was seen in the child age groups.

  11. A significant average yearly reduction in zinc intake of 0.1mg/day was observed in children aged 1.5 to 3 years, girls aged 4 to 10 years, boys aged 11 to 18 years and women aged 65 years and over.

  12. Overall: Some worrying downward trends in certain micronutrients.

 Change Five – Fish and Oily Fish Intake

  1. There was little change in most age/sex groups in the percentage consuming fish over the 9-year period and those changes seen were not in a consistent direction.

  2. The largest statistically significant changes were observed in girls aged 4 to 10 years and in boys aged 11 to 18 years, with an average yearly increase in the percentage of consumers of 2 percentage points.

  3. Changes over time in fish intake by consumers were very small or close to zero for all age/sex groups.

  4. There was a statistically significant 1 percentage point increase per year in the percentage of consumers of oily fish over time for children aged 11 to 18 years.

  5. A 1 percentage point increase was also seen for men aged 19 to 64 years and adults aged 65 years and over, although these changes were not statistically significant.

  6. For consumers of oily fish, changes in intake were small and there was no consistent pattern in the direction of change.

  7. Overall: Very little change.  Oily fish remains to be under consumed.

 Change Six – Meat Intake

  1. Little change was observed in the intake of total meat over the 9-year period.

  2. All age/sex groups showed a downward trend over the 9-year period in the consumption of red and processed meat.

  3. The largest yearly reduction was seen in boys aged 11 to 18 years (3g/day).

  4. The percentage of consumers of red and processed meat decreased for children aged 11 to 18 years and most adult age/sex groups by around 1 percentage point per year.

  5. The previous NDNS report showed that men aged 19 to 64 years and men aged 65 years and over had a mean total red and processed meat intake above the recommended 70g per day.

  6. Little change was observed over the 9 years in terms of the percentage consuming white meat or in the intake of white meat by consumers.

  7. Overall: Little change in white meat consumption. Red and processed meat intakes are declining.

Change Seven – Fruit Juice Consumption

  1. There was little change observed in the percentage consuming fruit juice in most age/sex groups over the 9-year period.

  2. The largest change was in boys aged 4 to 10 years who showed an average yearly reduction in the percentage consuming fruit juice of 2 percentage points.

  3. Intakes of fruit juice (consumers only) decreased over time in all age/sex groups.

  4. The average yearly reduction was statistically significant for children aged 4 to 10 years (6g/day), girls aged 11 to 18 years (5g/day) and women aged 19 to 64 years (4g/day). This is equivalent to a reduction of 54g/day, 48g/day and 32g/day respectively over the 9 years.

  5. Overall: Some subtle reductions seen.

 Change Eight – Fat Intake

  1. There was no consistent pattern in direction of change in total fat intake as a percentage of food energy across the age/sex groups over time, and overall the changes were very small or close to zero.

  2. The previous NDNS report has shown that the mean intake in all age/sex groups met or was close to meeting the recommendation of no more than 35% food energy from total fat.

  3. Over the 9-year period, changes in saturated fatty acids intake as a percentage of food energy were very small or close to zero across the age/sex groups.

  4. Mean saturated fatty acids intake exceeded the recommendation of no more than 11% food energy in all age/sex groups over the 9-year period.

  5. There was a statistically significant average reduction per year in trans fatty acids intake as a percentage of food energy in all age/sex groups.

  6. All age/sex groups met the recommendation of no more than 2% food energy from trans fatty acids over the 9-year period.

  7. Overall: Very small changes but good news about trans fats.

Change Nine – Free Sugar Intake

  1. The largest changes in free sugars intake as a percentage of total energy over the 9-year period were seen in children.

  2. Children aged 1.5 to 3 years, 4 to 10 years and 11 to 18 years had an average yearly reduction of 0.3, 0.3 and 0.4 percentage points respectively. This is equivalent to a reduction of 2.7, 2.4 and 3.5 percentage points over the 9 years.

  3. With the exception of men aged 65 years and over, reductions were also observed over time for adults, however, these reductions were smaller than for children and were not statistically significant in all groups.

  4. Mean free sugars intake exceeded the current recommendation of no more than 5% total energy in all age/sex groups.

  5. Overall: Small reductions but intakes remain far in excess of reduced guidelines.

Change Ten – Alcohol Consumption

  1. There was a downward trend over time in the percentage consuming alcohol for all age/sex groups from 11 years upwards, and this was statistically significant for adults aged 19 to 64 years and for girls aged 11 to 18 years.

  2. For those who consumed alcohol there was little change over time in alcohol intake as a percentage of total energy. The exception was the 11 to 18 years’ age group where there was an average yearly decrease of 0.3 percentage points.

  3. Overall: Evidence of downward trends including in younger generations.

References

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/ndns-time-trend-and-income-analyses-for-years-1-to-9 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46972101

CATEGORIES