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To describe macronutrient intakes and food sources of the adult population in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and to assess adherence of this population to current dietary recommendations.
A cross-sectional food consumption survey collected food intake data using a 7-day food diary.
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland between October 1997 and October 1999.
One thousand three hundred and seventy-nine adults aged 18–64 years (662 males and 717 females).
Mean daily energy intakes in men were 11 MJ per day, 15.5% was derived from protein, 34.8% from fat, 43.5% from carbohydrate and 5.9% from alcohol. Corresponding figures for women were 7.6 MJ per day, 15.6%, 35.6%, 45.1% and 3.5%. When alcohol energy was excluded the contribution of fat and carbohydrate to energy did not differ between men and women. When compared with existing dietary recommendations, 93% of men and 86% of women had protein intakes above the Population Reference Intake. Two approaches were used to assess adherence to the fat and carbohydrate dietary recommendations: (1) the proportion of individuals in the population attaining these dietary targets and (2) the proportion of the population that was included in a 'compliers' group which had a group mean equal to these dietary targets. Thirty-three per cent of men and 34% of women met the target of 35% of food energy from fat and 78% of men and 80% of women comprised the ‘compliers’ group having a group mean of 35% of food energy from fat. Twentythree per cent of men and 27% of women met the target of 50% of food energy from carbohydrate and 56% of men and 62% of women made up the 'compliers' group. Meat and meat products were the main source of fat (23%) and protein (37%), and bread and rolls (25%) were the main source of carbohydrate.
A reduction in dietary fat intake remains an important public health issue in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. An increase in carbohydrate intake and attention to the rise in alcohol intake is also warranted.
To examine energy intakes (El), their ratio to estimated basal metabolic rate (BMRest) and the contribution of food groups to energy intake in the North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey.
Design and setting
Random sample of adults from the populations of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Food intake data were collected using a 7-day food diary. Body weight and height were measured and EI/BMRest was calculated from reported energy intake and estimated basal metabolic rate. Dieting practices were assessed as part of a self-administered questionnaire.
Mean energy intake in men was 11.0 MJ and in women was 7.6 MJ, which is comparable to reported energy intakes in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland over a decade ago. Mean EI/BMRest was 1.38. This increased to 1.42 after the exclusion of dieters and those who were unwell, but still remained less than the established cut-off of 1.53. EI/BMRest was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in men than in women and decreased significantly (P < 0.05) with increasing BMI in both sexes. The four food groups that contributed 50% of energy in men and women were meat and meat products, breads and rolls, potatoes and potato products, and biscuits, cakes, pastries and puddings.
Energy intakes have not changed remarkably in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland in the last 10 years, but the mean EI/BMRest of 1.38 suggests that energy underreporting occurred. EI/BMRest was lower in women and in the overweight/obese. Additional multivariate analysis of the data is needed to identify more clearly subgroups of the population reporting lower than expected energy intakes and to evaluate the effect of low energy reporting on the consumption of various foods and food groups.
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