Trends in food consumption over 30 years: evidence from a British birth cohort.

G.K. Pot, C.J. Prynne, S Almoosawi, D Kuh, AM Stephen

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    As populations are ageing, more emphasis is placed on healthy ageing. Over the past decades, food consumption patterns and food availability have also changed drastically, and therefore this study aimed to describe these changes in an ageing population.Subjects/Methods:Food consumption of participants from the Medical Research Council National Survey on Health and Development, a British birth cohort study, was assessed using a 5-day estimated food records at 60-64 years (2006-11), 53 years (1999), 43 years (1989) and 36 years (1982). Only those who recorded ≥3 days at all four time points were included in the analyses, n=989 (n=438 men and n=551 women); trends were tested using the Friedman test.Results:Consumption of white bread, whole milk, fats and oils, meat and meat products, alcoholic drinks, coffee, sugar, preserves and confectionery decreased (P<0.001), whereas consumption of wholemeal and granary bread, semi-skimmed milk, fish and fruit and vegetables increased (P<0.001) over time. These observed changes in food consumption reflect a healthier diet, for example, replacement of white bread by granary and wholemeal bread, lower consumption of red and processed meats, somewhat higher consumption of fish, higher consumption of vegetables and lower consumption of coffee. This could partly be because of ageing of the cohort or compliance with dietary recommendations, facilitated by greater availability of healthier foods, such as semi-skimmed milk and wholegrain bread, in the UK.Conclusions:The changes in food consumption in this British birth cohort over the past three decades are encouraging and reflect a healthier diet in the later years.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)807-823
    JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
    Issue number7
    Early online date29 Oct 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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