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Publication, Part of

Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England, 2020

Official statistics, National statistics

National Statistics

Part 6: Diet

Poor diet and nutrition are recognised as major contributory risk factors for ill health and premature death. Current UK diet and nutrition recommendations include:

  • At least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day for those aged 11 years and over.
  • For adults (ages 19 and over), average intakes of red and processed meat should not exceed 70 grams per day.
  • At least 1 portion of oily fish (140 grams) per week for all ages (equivalent to 20 grams per day).
  • Limit free sugars to no more than 5% of daily calorie intake.
  • Limit saturated fat intake to no more than 11% of daily calorie intake.

The information for this section comes from three major national surveys:

  • Living Costs and Food Survey (LCF) from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), as reported in Family Food 2017/18. The LCF collects information on the type and quantity of food and drink purchased in households.
  • Data on fruit and vegetable consumption are taken from the Health Survey for England (HSE), covering children aged 5 to 15, and adults aged 16 and over.
  • Other food consumption data are taken from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) published by Public Health England. This is a continuous, cross-sectional survey of the UK population aged 1.5 and over. Results are currently published every 2 years, using the most recent 2 years of data, the latest being for 2014/15 and 2015/16. Additionally, time trend analysis including the 2016/17 data was published for the first time in January 2019.

Food and drink expenditure and purchases

Expenditure per week

In 2017/18 the amount that an average household spent on all food and drink, including alcoholic drinks and food eaten out was £45.31 per person per week. When inflation is taken into account, the amount spent was 0.3% more than 2016/17 and 3.8% more than 2014. Household food and non-alcoholic drink purchases formed the largest share at £27.54 per person per week.

The percentage of spend on food continues to be highest for households with the lowest 20% of income, at 15.2% in 2017/18, although the gap is closing. Food is the largest item of household expenditure for low income households, after housing, fuel and power costs.

 

Trends in household purchases of food and drink (2014 v 2017/18)

Data is based on changes in grams per person per week, except for liquids in millilitres, and eggs (number).

Since 2014, the largest decreases in quantities purchased have been in sugar & preserves (-9%), beverages (-5%), and bread (-5%). The largest increase has been in cheese purchases (+13%).

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For more data/information on this section: 

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA): Family Food 2017/18


Adult fruit and vegetable consumption

Proportion consuming 5 or more portions a day

In 2018, 28% of adults were eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Women were more likely to do so than men.

Portions eaten per day

The mean number of portions of fruit and vegetables consumed by adults between 2010 and 2017 ranged between 3.5 and 3.8 per day. In 2018 it was slightly lower at 3.7 portions per day.

Consumption varied with age, young people aged 16 to 24 consumed on average the lowest number of portions of fruit and vegetables, 3 a day, and were the least likely age group to eat their five a day recommendation, 22%.

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For more data/information on this section: 

Adult health related behaviours report, Health Survey for England, 2018

 


Childhood fruit and vegetable consumption

Proportion consuming 5 or more portions a day

In 2018, 18% of children aged between 5 and 15 ate the recommended five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Results were similar for boys and girls.

The proportion of children eating five or more portions per day was 11% in 2003 and then increased to 21% in 2006. Since 2007, the prevalence of eating five or more portions has varied between 16% and 23% with no clear trend.

Portions eaten per day

More children consumed fewer than 3 portions a day (53%) than met the recommended 5 portions (18%).

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For more data/information on this section: 

Children's health report, Health Survey for England, 2018

 


Food and nutrition intake

PLEASE NOTE: This section has not been subject to an update since the previous version of this publication.

All data in this section is for the United Kingdom. Charts are based on the latest published two-year survey, which covers 2014/15 and 2015/16. Time trend analysis is available to 2016/17.  See source publication for more details.  

Free sugars intake

Free sugars include all added sugars, sugars naturally present in fruit and vegetable juices, purees and pastes, and all sugars in drinks other than from dairy sources.

Mean intake of free sugars exceeded the government recommendation of providing no more than 5% of total calorie intake in all age groups. 

The latest time trend analysis shows the percentage has fallen in children between 2008/09 and 2016/17 by 2.4-3.5 percentage points in each age group, and by 1.2 percentage points in adults.

Saturated fatty acids intake

Mean intake of saturated fats exceeded the recommendation of no more than 11% of total calorie intake in all age groups. 

Overall, the percentage showed no change between 2008/09 and 2016/17.

Oily fish intake

Mean consumption of oily fish for all age groups was well below the recommended level of at least one portion per week (equivalent to 20 grams per day).

There was generally little change in oily fish consumption over time.

Red and processed meat intake

Mean consumption of red and processed meat for women (aged 19-64 and 65+) met the current maximum recommendation (70 grams or less per day). Mean consumption by adult men exceeded the recommendation. 

Consumption has shown a downward trend. For adults aged 19 to 64 years consumption declined by 19g over nine years from 2008/09 to 2016/17. For children aged 11 to 18 years there was a decline of 15g and adults 65 years and over 11g over the same period.

Note that the maximum recommendation is for adults aged 19+ only, though data for ages 1.5 to 18 is also shown.

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For more data/information on this section: 

Public Health England: National Diet and Nutrition Survey, 2014/15 and 2015/16

Public Health England: National Diet and Nutrition Survey, time trend and income analyses


Last edited: 8 July 2021 4:17 pm