The National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme (NDNS RP) provides the only source of nationally representative data on the diet and nutritional status of the UK population and provides the evidence base for developing government policy. The survey is funded by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and is carried out jointly by the MRC Epidemiology Unit through the Cambridge NIHR BRC Innovation Programme for the measurement of diet, physical activity and nutrition, and NatCen Social Research (NatCen).
The survey is designed to assess the diet, nutrient intake and nutritional status of the UK population in order to provide government with the evidence base for policy development such as the sugar reduction guidelines and to track progress towards public health nutrition objectives such as reducing intakes of calories, saturated fat and salt and increasing intakes of fibre.
The NDNS programme began in 1992 as a series of separate cross sectional surveys focused on a different age group, e.g. preschool children (1.5 to 4.5 years) or adults aged 65 years and over. Since 2008 the NDNS RP has run as a continuous, cross-sectional survey of the general population aged 18 months and over living in private households in the UK. This has enabled more rapid data collection and greater ability to track temporal changes and to respond more quickly to changing policy needs. The programme is currently in its third funding phase: 2018 – 2022, fieldwork years 11-14.
A representative sample of around 1000 people (500 adults and 500 children) sampled from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland take part each year. Taking part comprises an interview, collection of information about food and drink intake generally over 4 days, and collection of blood and urine samples for nutritional bioanalysis.
NDNS reports and results are published by government, generally via gov.uk and after results publication NDNS data are deposited at the UK Data Service. Other resources (including blood and urine samples) can be requested from the NDNS Bioresource. See also the NDNS Data Resource Profile (International Journal of Epidemiology).