MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory

EWL Engagement: What do UK children and adults eat?

Graphical summaries of the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey

If you are interested in finding out more about what older children and adults in the UK are eating and what proportion are meeting healthy eating recommendations, then download our graphical summaries of the latest survey for adults and older children.

Wellcome Images family eatingThe National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) is the only survey that assesses the diet and nutritional status of a representative sample of the UK population. The NDNS is jointly funded by the UK Department of Health and the Foods Standards Agency.

MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory  (EWL) is the scientific lead for the NDNS and conducts the nutritional assessment and analysis for the survey which is delivered by EWL in collaboration with NatCen Social Research and, for this period, the University College London Medical School.

These summaries are based on NDNS results data collected over 4 years from 2008/09 to 2011/12. In this period, the NDNS collected diet diaries from 2,697 adults and 1,497 older children.

From the summary for older children 11-18 years:

(View the full summary)

NDNS UK diet children


NDNS UK diet children


To find out more details about the methods and limitations of the survey and to see the complete results tables (including results split by age and gender groups), see the report on the UK Government website and download the data tables (see ‘NDNS Chapter 5 Tables.xls’). The data is also publicly available in the UK Data Archive.

To find out more about government dietary recommendations and advice, a good (external) source of information is NHS Choices on food and diet and vitamins and minerals. Some of this NHS advice was incorporated into these summaries.

You are welcome to share and re-use these materials (CC BY 4.0). If you have any feedback on these summaries, please contact us.