The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) Report of Years 5 and 6 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2012/2013-2013/2014) was published on 9 September 2016. Below is a summary of the key findings from the report. A more in-depth look at the findings can be found attached below.

Overall, the UK population continues to consume too much sugars and saturated fat, and not enough fruit, vegetables and fibre. There is evidence of a reduction in sugars intake in 4-10 year-old children when comparing Years 5&6 with Years 1&2 of the Rolling Programme (2008/2009-2009/2010). There was little or no evidence of any change over time for the majority of foods and nutrients.


Sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages

  • Non-milk extrinsic sugars (NMES) intakes were significantly lower for children aged 4-10 years in Years 5&6 compared to Years 1&2 (13.4% vs. 14.4% food energy).
    This is thought to be partly attributable to a substantial decline in consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks in this age group (100g/day in Years 5&6 compared with 130g/day in Years 1&2).
  • Mean intakes of NMES in all age/sex groups (except older adult women) still exceed the recommendation (at the time of the survey) of no more than 11% food energy, as well as the new 2015 recommendation that no more than 5% of energy should come from free sugars (12.2% in preschool children, 13.4% in 4-10 year-olds, 15.2% in 11-18 year-olds, 12.3% in adults aged 19-64 years and 11.1% in older adults aged 65 years and over).
  • Note that, while recent recommendations have replaced NMES with the term ‘free sugars’ (those added to food or those naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices, but exclude lactose in milk and milk products), this definition has not been used in this report. Plans are in place to move to measuring ‘free sugars’ from Years 7&8 of the Rolling Programme.

Fat, saturated fat and trans fat

  • Mean total fat intakes meet the recommendation of no more than 35% of food energy in all groups.
  • Mean saturated fat intakes in all age groups still exceed the recommendation of no more than 11% food energy (12.7% for adults), however were significantly lower for older adults in Years 5&6 compared with Years 1&2 (13.4% vs. 14.3% food energy).
  • There was no evidence of any change over time of mean intakes of trans fat – these were 0.5-0.6% of food energy for adults and older adults and 0.6% food energy for children, well below the recommended limit of 2% of food energy.


Fibre (non-starch polysaccharides, NSP)

  • Mean intakes of NSP in adults (14g/day) were below the recommendation (at the time of the survey) of 18g/day NSP fibre. The new recommendation of 30g/day (AOAC fibre) set in 2015 equates to 23g NSP/day.

Fruit and vegetables

  • No significant differences were found in the average number of portions consumed for any group between Years 5&6 and Years 1&2.
  • The average number of portions consumed was 4.0 per day for adults, 4.2 per day for older adults and 2.8 per day for 11-18 year-olds.
  • 27% of adults, 35% of older adults and 8% of 11-18 year-olds achieved the 5 A DAY recommendation.
  • An error occurred in the calculation of 5 A DAY portions in the Years 1-4 report, where food groups that should have been excluded were included in the calculation. This caused a slight overestimate of the consumption figures published in that report, which has been corrected in the Years 5&6 report and the consumption figures for Years 1&2, 3&4 and 5&6 are comparable.

Red and processed meat

  • Mean intakes are significantly lower in women (47g in Years 5&6 vs. 58g in Years 1&2) and have stayed the same in men.
  • Mean intakes in women meet the recommendation of no more than 70g/day but mean intakes in men exceed this.
  • Overall in adults, mean intakes were significantly lower in Years 5&6 (65g) and Years 3&4 (68g) compared to Years 1&2 (74g).


Oily fish

  • All age groups have a mean consumption of oily fish well below the recommended one portion (140g) per week.



  • 48% of girls and 27% of women had low iron intakes below the lower reference nutrient intake (LRNI).
  • Iron deficiency anaemia and low iron stores were evident in 5% of 11-18 year-old girls and 3% of adult women.


Vitamin D

  • Low vitamin D status (as indicated by low plasma 25-hydroxy vitamin D concentrations in blood) was present in all age groups.
  • Over the whole year, a fifth of adults and around a sixth of older adults and 11-18 year-old children had low vitamin D status.


Iodine (measured for the first time in the NDNS in this report)

  • Analyses of urinary iodine concentrations showed that all age and sex groups met the WHO criteria for adequate iodine intake (median urinary iodine concentration within the range 100-199 μg/L and fewer than 20% of samples below 50μg/L).


Other vitamins and minerals

  • In addition to iron and vitamin D, evidence continues to indicate low intakes for other vitamins and minerals (e.g. vitamin A) in some groups, particularly in 11-18 year-olds.

To read the full report, see