"...all doctors should be able to diagnose and treat nutritional deficiencies."

Royal College of Physicians. Nutrition and Patients: A Doctor's Responsibility. London 2002


This page has been printed from the www.stewartnutrition.co.uk web site.

National Diet and Nutrition Survey:
Young People in Britain aged 4 years to 18 years


The survey collected information from volunteers whose addresses were identified randomly and thus in-patients and those in institutional care were excluded.  The following information was collected from participants:

  • a 7-day weighed dietary intake record of all food and drink, including nutritional supplements and alcohol consumed both in and out of the home
  • urine and blood samples for assessment of micronutrient status
  • a record of physical activity, anthropometric measures and blood pressure

Over 2,600 addresses were contacted, 1,701 children completed the dietary record and 1,193 provided a blood sample.

Main Findings

The report breaks the findings down into four age-dependent sub-groups and total percentages or ranges for the groups are presented:

  • Dietary protein intake was low to borderline in approximately 5% of those surveyed
  • Approximately 5% of children aged 4 to 11 years had a BMI  < 15.0 kg/m2
  • 5% to 10% of 14 to 18 year olds have a BMI > 30.0 kg/m2
  • Males aged 15 to 18 years ate less fruit and more sugar than 11 to 14 year old males
  • Anaemia was found in 9% of females aged 15 to 18 years and 5% of all children aged 4 to 6 years
  • Iron deficiency, as defined by a serum ferritin level < 12.0 ug/l was found in 5% of males and over 10% of all females
  • Amongst 15 to 18 year olds deficiency of vitamin B12 (serum vitamin B12 < 118 pmol/l) was observed in 8% of females and 1% of males.  Otherwise subnormal values were rare
  • A reduced red cell folate > 350 nmol/l was observed in 7% of boys and 9% of girls
  • Mild vitamin D deficiency (plasma vitamin D 25-49 nmol/l) was seen in up to 16% of the subgroups and was most likely in teenagers in winter and spring
  • Calcium intakes were below the LRNI in approximately 5% of boys and 13% of girls
  • Zinc intakes were below the LRNI in approximately 9% of boys and 20% of girls
  • Socio-economic deprivation at all ages and alcohol consumption in teenagers were risk factors for dietary inadequacy of many nutrients.


  1. Gregory J, Lowe S, Bates, CJ, Prentice A, Jackson LV, Smithers G, Wenlock R, Farron M.  National Diet and Nutrition Survey: young people aged 4 to 18 years. Volume I: Report of the diet and nutrition survey. London. The Stationery Office, 2000.

Copyright Dr. Alan Stewart M.B.B.S.M.R.C.P. (UK)M.F. Hom.
47 Priory Street, Lewes, East Sussex. BN7 1HJ
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