National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS)

The National Diet and Nutrition Survey is a scientific study of people’s eating habits which has taken place across the UK every year since 2008.

About the study

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) has been asked to carry out research to help the Government understand and improve our health, and keep our food safe, by looking at people’s eating habits and nutrient intakes.

The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDSN) is a scientific study of people’s eating habits which has taken place across the UK every year since 2008. By taking part in the survey you can help the government improve public health and protect food safety.

Make your voice heard

We randomly select a number of addresses each year. Within these, we are looking for up to two adults and/or one or two young people (aged 18 months to 18 years) to take part in this important study. Your views will help to inform Government policy around diet and nutrition.

Who funds NDNS?

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are funding NatCen Social Research and the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge to carry out this study.

OHID, part of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), will drive the prevention agenda across government to reduce health disparities, and improve the public’s health. Until 1 October 2021, NDNS was funded by Public Health England (PHE).

The Food Standards Agency is an independent government department responsible for food safety and hygiene across the UK. They work with businesses to help them produce safe food, and with local authorities to enforce food safety regulations.

For some addresses in Northern Ireland, interviewers from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) will be helping carry out this research on behalf of NatCen.

What's involved?

Interviewer visit

One of our interviewers will visit in the next week or so, knocking at your door and keeping socially distanced. So that you know who they are, all of our interviewers carry photo ID with our logo on it. We understand that you may be busy, so we’ll organise the interview at a time that suits you. And the interview can be done over the phone if you would prefer not to have the interviewer in your home.

The interview

Your interviewer will ask you about a range of topics including general health and eating habits. We would also like you to complete online records of what you’ve had to eat and drink on 4 separate days. Depending on your age, the interviewer may also ask whether you are willing to take part in other elements such as height and weight measurements, a urine sample, and wearing a physical activity monitor.

And don’t worry – you don’t have to answer any questions or do any of the other elements if you don’t want to.

The nurse visit

The second part of the survey, if you agree, is a visit by a qualified nurse. The nurse will ask you some questions about your health and, if you consent, take some physical measurements, including a blood sample.

No need to prepare

There’s no need to prepare for the interview. You don’t need any special knowledge; we just want to hear about your eating and drinking habits. Most people agree to be interviewed and enjoy taking part.

    Who are NatCen?

    Read more

    Why have I been chosen?

    Why you’re so important to us

    We’ve chosen your address at random to make sure we get a truly representative picture of everyone in Britain. Your address can’t be replaced by anyone else, as this would bias the results. Therefore your views are particularly important to us.

    At each address, we will invite up to two adults (aged 19 years or older) and one young person (aged 18 months to 18 years) or up to two young people (aged 18 months to 18 years) to take part in the study.

    We want to hear from everyone

    It’s really important to us and our clients that our research represents the views of everyone living in the UK. Whether you’re old or young, rich or poor, living in Land’s End, John O’Groats or Belfast, we value your opinion.

    Whoever you are, whatever you think, your opinion is important to us. Taking part is an opportunity to tell influential people who make the decisions in government what you really think.

    Why take part?

    A token of our appreciation

    As a thank you for taking part, you can receive up to £45, depending on which elements of the study you take part in. For example, we offer each person who completes four 24-hour dietary recalls a total of £25 in gift cards and personalised dietary feedback (see images below).

    How NDNS makes a difference 

    By taking part in the survey you are helping the government to understand how the nation's diet is changing.

    This information is used by the government to develop public health initiatives such as the 5 A DAY campaign and monitor the pledges made by food manufacturers to reduce things like sugar and salt in their products.

    A little time to make a big difference

    It’s easy to say no to our interviewers, but we hope you don’t. We know your time is precious, but we hope you can spare some time to share your thoughts and opinions. Our work really does make a difference, we help government and charities to make the right decisions about the big issues.

    Linking data 

    Click here to find out more about what linking data is and why it is important.

    Privacy notice

    We will handle your data in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The survey findings are anonymised and nothing we publish will identify you.

    Click here to read the privacy notice.

    Contact us

    If you have any questions about the study that are not covered here, please do get in touch with us. One of our staff will get back to you as soon as possible.


    Telephone: 0800 652 4572