Discrepancies between two long-term dietary datasets in the United Kingdom

Kerry Smith, Pauline F.D. Scheelbeek, Andrew Balmford, Peter Alexander, Emma Garnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Studying dietary trends can help monitor progress towards healthier and more sustainable diets but longitudinal data are often confounded by lack of standardized methods. Two main data sources are used for longitudinal analysis of diets: food balance sheets on food supply (FBS) and household budget surveys on food purchased (HBS).

Methods: We used UK longitudinal dietary data on food supply, provided by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) (FAO-FBS, 1961-2018), and food purchases, provided by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) (Defra-HBS, 1942-2018). We assessed how trends in dietary change per capita compared between FAO-FBS and Defra-HBS for calories, meat and fish, nuts and pulses, and dairy, and how disparities have changed over time.

Results: Estimates made by FAO-FBS were significantly higher (p
Conclusions: Our finding raises questions over the robustness of both data sources for monitoring UK dietary change, especially when used for evidence-based decision making around health, climate change and sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWellcome Open Research
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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