National Diet and Nutrition Survey

Today the Department published the National Diet and Nutrition Survey supplementary report on Blood analytes. This includes headline results from years 1 and 2 (combined) of the rolling programme, 2008/09 – 2009/10;

The results in the main report published in July 2011, were based on assessment of food consumption over four days and so tell us about diet over a short period. This supplementary report provides an analysis of blood samples which gives an indication of the nutritional status of the population over a longer period.  The report presents descriptive statistics on a number of blood analytes including iron and vitamin D and focuses on respondents aged 11-18 and 19 to 64 year olds who agreed to a blood sample being taken.

Key findings

The results suggest that the overall picture of the nutritional status of the UK population is broadly similar to previous relevant surveys in the NDNS series carried out in 1997 and 2000/01. The results are not inconsistent with the findings from the dietary data. The results do not indicate any new areas of concern in the nutritional status of these population groups.
Where there is evidence of low status, this does not necessarily mean people are deficient, but that they are at greater risk of deficiency.

  • Iron: There is evidence of iron-deficiency anaemia and low iron stores in a proportion of adult women and older girls. This is in line with findings from previous surveys and does have health implications for these groups.
  • Vitamin D:There is evidence of low vitamin D status in adults and older children, both male and female which has implications for bone health: in particular increased risk of rickets and osteomalacia.
  • Vitamin B2: A substantial proportion of adults and older children have low vitamin B2 (riboflavin) status. The health implications of this are not known.
  • Other micronutrients: There is no evidence of low status for other micronutrients for example vitamin C, B6, B12, thiamin, retinol and vitamin E.
  • Blood Lipids: A proportion of adults had elevated levels of blood lipids, increasing risk of cardiovascular disease. This is well known and in line with findings from previous health surveys.
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