The main objective of The National Adult Nutrition Survey was to establish a nationally representative database of food consumption in adults in the Republicof Ireland which will be used to support the development and implementation of public health policy as well as meeting the needs of the food industry in relation to food safety and nutrition issues. The survey complements recently collected data on school-children and teenagers and links into a large nationwide project being carried out by the Joint Irish Nutrigenomics Organisation aimed at exploring gene-nutrient interactions and applying new molecular ‘omic’ approaches to the study of food and health links. It precedes ‘The National Pre-school Nutrition Survey’ due to start September 2010.
The National Adult Nutrition Survey was carried out by a dedicated all-island multi-disciplinary team. The team is led by University College Cork in collaboration with University College Dublin, Teagasc Ashtown Food Research Centre, and University of Ulster.
A random sample of the population was chosen from a database of names and addresses in Ireland, including men and women of different ages living in different parts of the country.
The fieldwork phase began in October 2008 and finished in April 2010. The survey was conducted in 20 areas covering the Republic of Ireland. The time span and the varying locations accounted for seasonal variations in diet and for differences in urban and rural eating behaviours. Following an initial meeting with researchers to explain the survey, participants were asked:
- To keep a record of everything they ate and drank over a four day period. Each participant was provided with a food diary
- To provide information on physical activity
- To provide a blood and urine sample to our nurse
- To provide blood pressure and body measurements (height, weight, body fat, waist and hip circumferences)