National Dietary surveys are an important aspect of epidemiological research, nutrition monitoring, and the development of food and nutrition policies and programmes. The first National Nutrition Survey in the Republic of Ireland was carried out by the Department of Health in 1948 and the next was completed in 1988-89 by the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute.
Irish National Nutrition Survey 1990
This survey assessed dietary intakes of a representative sample of the Irish population over 18 years of age (n = 676) and a representative sample of Irish school-going children from 8 to 18 years (n = 538). Diets were examined using the dietary history method, with a food atlas to estimate portion sizes. The main sources of vitamin D in the diet were spreadable fats (26%), eggs (24%), breakfast cereals (23%), and buns, cakes and pastries grouped together (10%). Vitamin D intake ranged from 1.3µg/d to 2.6µg/d across the various age groups. When this survey was completed, it was thought that no dietary requirement for vitamin D was required (Beaton, 1985) with adequate exposure to sunlight. When this survey was completed, it was thought that low dietary intakes of vitamin D were only significant for those, such as the elderly, who might have limited exposure to sunlight.
TheNorth/South IrelandFood Consumption Survey
The NSIFCS is unique in that, for the first time, food consumption data representative of the population of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were collected at the same time using the same methodology. The survey was carried out during 1997-1999 by the Ulster at Coleraine. The NSIFCS was funded by the Department of Agriculture Food and Rural Development, The Food Safety Authority of Ireland, The Northern Ireland Centre for Diet and Health and the food industry. The survey involved a random sample of 1379 adults on the entire island of Ireland. 958 adults were surveyed in the Republic of Ireland (South) and 421 were surveyed in Northern Ireland (North).
National Children's Food Survey
The National Children’s Survey (NCFS) is a cross-sectional study that was carried out between March 2003 and March 2004 by IUNA. The survey investigated habitual food and drink consumption, health and lifestyle characteristics and assessed body weight status in 594 children (293 boys, 301 girls), aged 5-12 years, from the Republic of Ireland. The electronic database which has been compiled from the survey is one of the most comprehensive in Europe. It represents a valuable resource which will be used by agencies concerned with public health policy and planning and by the food industry.