Diet and nutrition survey results are a mixed bag

By Judy Buttriss

- Last updated on GMT

Buttriss: ‘A substantial number of 11 to 18-year-olds had low intakes of vitamin A’
Buttriss: ‘A substantial number of 11 to 18-year-olds had low intakes of vitamin A’

Related tags: Nutrition

The latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) results reveal a few improvements.

Trans-fat intakes have continued to fall (now just 0.5% of calories), free sugars fell in those aged 4–10 (from 14.4% to 13.4% of calories) and sat-fat fell in the over 65s.

But intakes of sugars and sat-fat remain too high.

Five fruit and veg a day

Teenagers still have the worst diets. Only 8% eat five fruit and veg a day (an average of 2.8 portions) compared with 28% of adults (an average of four portions), and free sugars remain above 15% of calories.

A substantial number (16%) of 11 to 18-year-olds had low intakes of vitamin A, and riboflavin intake was low in teenage girls and women (20% and 13%, respectively).

Low iron stores

Iron intake continued to be low in many teenage girls (48%) and 27% of women, with some evidence of low iron stores and anaemia. In part, this may reflect the reduction in red meat intake seen in women (now 47g a day compared with 58g between 2008–10).

Also low in many teenage girls were calcium (19%), zinc (22%) and iodine (26%).

A substantial proportion of teenagers and adults also had low intakes of magnesium, potassium and selenium, but the health implications of this are unclear.

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