Nutrition Data Sources
National Diet and Nutrition Survey
The National Diet and Nutrition Survey was originally set up in 1992 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and has been run by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) since 2000. The annual programme surveys a national sample of adults aged 19 to 64 years and aims to provide a comprehensive, cross-sectional picture of dietary habits and nutritional status of the population of the UK.
Living Costs and Food Survey
Data on purchases and expenditure have been collected by various surveys since 1940 to provide an assessment of the effectiveness of the national food policy at the time. In 2001, the National Food Survey (NFS) was merged with the Family Expenditure Survey (FES) to form the Expenditure and Food Survey (EFS). In 2008, the EFS, along with other major national surveys on topics as diverse as smoking, housing, employment and training, were brought together to form the Integrated Household Survey (IHS) to increase the range of the statistical outputs.
Low Income Diet and Nutrition Survey
The Low Income Diet and Nutrition Survey (LIDNS) was commissioned by the Food Standards Agency. It provides strong, nationally representative, evidence on the eating habits, nourishment and nutrition-related health of people on low income. A sample of 3728 adults and children (aged 4 and above) from 2477 households across the UK were surveyed between November 2003 and January 2005.
Primary Care Trust Patient Surveys
The National Patient Survey programme has been operating annually since 2002 and is administered by the Healthcare Commission. The survey is mandatory for Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). The most recent survey was conducted in Spring 2008 with each PCT sending questionnaires to 1200 patients. An average response rate of 40% was achieved. While the main focus of the survey is on patients’ experiences of primary care services, the 2008 survey also asked a number of health and lifestyle-related questions.
TellUs is a series of annual confidential online surveys to gather quantitative information on the views and experiences of children and young people. The surveys provide evidence for the National Indicators for Local Authorities and Local Authority Partnerships and aim to help local authorities judge the impact of their services on perceived quality of life for children and young people. The survey contains questions about fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity levels.
Health Survey for England (HSE)
The Health Survey for England is an annual survey undertaken since 1991, which also contains nutrition data along side other indicators. The HSE is currently commissioned by the Information Centre (and before 2005 was commissioned by the Department of Health) to monitor the health of the population. This is currently the most robust data source to monitor trends in adult obesity in England and includes nutrition data.
Infant Feeding Survey
The Infant Feeding Survey has been conducted every five years since 1975. It provides estimates on the incidence, prevalence and duration of breastfeeding and other feeding practices adopted by mothers in the UK, from the birth of their baby up to around nine months. The survey also collects information on the smoking and drinking behaviour of mothers before, during and after pregnancy.
Annual survey of take up of school meals in England
The annual survey of take up of school meals in England is based on data from local authorities as part of the School Food Trust and Local Authority Caterers Association annual survey. It provides information on the take up of school lunches at national, regional and local level. The coverage includes the following two categories: primary schools and special schools; and secondary schools, academies and city technology colleges.