The MRC Epidemiology Unit and our consortium partner NatCen (National Centre for Social Research) have been awarded the contract to deliver the next phase of the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey, funded by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID).
Move online to broaden participation.
This funding will cover the fourth round of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme (NDNS RP), covering fieldwork years 16 to 20 (2024/25 to 2028/29). For this next phase the number of participants recruited for NDNS will increase from 1,000 to 4,000 per year, and will include for the first time children aged 12 to 17 months and pregnant and breastfeeding women.
The fourth phase will also see a 50% increase in the number of blood samples taken, increasing from 500 participants to 750, adding to the existing NDNS Bioresource of blood and urine samples collected since 2008 which are available to researchers for further analysis.
Polly Page, Programme Director for Measurement and Surveys at the Unit and co-director of the NDNS comments:
Scaling the survey to four times its current size gives considerably enhanced scope for NDNS. We expect to move to annual data releases for dietary results and will have increased opportunity to focus on sub-groups of interest or exploration of foods and nutrients by factors such as food security status, or the out-of-home sector. It’s an exciting time and we are delighted to be growing and delivering the NDNS for the next round.”
Setting objectives and monitoring progress
The NDNS RP is a continuous cross-sectional survey of the general population living in private households in the UK, which has been running since 2008. It is currently carried out jointly by researchers at the MRC Epidemiology Unit’s Nutrition Measurement Platform and NatCen.
NDNS data have been used extensively by government to set and monitor progress toward diet and nutrition objectives of UK Health Departments and to develop policy interventions and recommendations, for example in relation to folic acid fortification of flour and increasing our fruit and vegetable intake. NDNS data are publicly available via the UK Data Service , with a collection of reports and results published on the UK government NDNS website, and and further information about the study is available in this recent publication. During the NDNS next round, folic acid fortification legislation is expected to come into force and ultra processed foods are a new policy focus, and the NDNS will be a critical source of evidence for both of these.
Professor Jean Adams, Unit lead for Dietary Public Health, comments:
NDNS has been incredibly important in benchmarking current diet in the UK to help us identify where we need to do more to make it easier for people to eat well. This new contract ensures we can keep supporting development of new policy and monitoring of how effective that is.”
- MRC Epidemiology Unit NDNS website
- UK government NDNS collection
- Michelle Venables, Caireen Roberts et al. Data Resource Profile: United Kingdom National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme (2008–19). International Journal of Epidemiology. (2022). DOI:10.1093/ije/dyac106