Different sources provide different estimates of the extent to which the adult population is achieving a healthy diet.  Fruit and vegetable intake is one indication of the healthiness of a population’s diet; in general, people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a healthier diet overall.  The latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) reported that 27% of 19-64 year olds and 35% of those aged 65+ were eating ‘5-a-day’. 5  This survey uses food diaries to obtain a detailed picture of the nation’s dietary intake.

An alternative source of evidence on dietary behaviour is the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF), which also includes an indicator on the proportion of adults who eat ‘5-a-day’, in different areas across the country. The PHOF indicator uses evidence from the Active People Survey, which may be a less reliable source than NDNS as it relies on self-reported behaviour – when asked, people may overstate fruit and vegetable consumption through a desire to show socially desirable behaviour. On the PHOF measure, almost half (47%) of Hackney adults, and just over a third (36%) of City adults, are reported to eat ‘5-a-day’. 6  Due to the relatively small number of residents in the City of London, estimates for this area should be treated with particular caution.

In 2015, Ipsos MORI was commissioned by Hackney Council to carry out a survey of the health and wellbeing of adults (age 16+) in Hackney.  This survey (based on a sample size of 1,009) included questions on dietary behaviours, as well as knowledge and attitudes to a healthy diet. 7  Virtually all respondents to this survey (89%) were aware of the recommendation to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, but only a third (35%) said they achieve this in practice.

Figure 4 shows that eight out of 10 residents believe they have a healthy diet (41% strongly agree with this statement), while just over one in 10 (11%) do not.  The main perceived barriers to healthy eating are cost and lack of time.

Figure 4: Extent to which adult Hackney residents agree that they have a healthy diet (age 16+, 2015)

Fourty-one percent of respondents 'strongly agree' that they have a healthy diet
Figure 4: Extent to which adult Hackney residents agree that they have a healthy diet (age 16+, 2015)

Source: Hackney resident health and wellbeing survey (2015)

Figure 5 suggests that the majority of adult Hackney residents (81%) eat home-cooked meals made from scratch four or more days a week, with half saying they do this every day. Almost half (46%) say they eat takeaway food at least once a week, but around a half (54%) say they never do. Around three quarters (77%) eat out in restaurants at least once a week but one in five (22%) say they never do. One in five (22%) of adult residents say they never eat ready meals.

There was a strong correlation in this local survey between eating ‘5-a-day’ and preparing meals from scratch. This mirrors other research which found that people who cook regularly eat more fruit and vegetables. 8

Figure 5: Reported frequency of eating different types of meal among adult Hackney residents (age 16+, 2015)

Figure 5: Reported frequency of eating different types of meal among adult Hackney residents (age 16+, 2015)
Figure 5: Reported frequency of eating different types of meal among adult Hackney residents (age 16+, 2015)

Source: Hackney resident health and wellbeing survey (2015)

References

  1. Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency , “National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Results from Years 5-6 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2012/13-2013/14),” Crown Copyright , London , 2016.
  2. Public Health England, “Public Health Outcomes Framework,” 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.phoutcomes.info/public-health-outcomes-framework#page/3/gid/1000042/pat/6/par/E12000007/ati/102/are/E09000012/iid/91477/age/164/sex/4. [Accessed 14 October 2016].
  3. Ipsos MORI, “Health and Wellbeing in Hackney: Survey Report for Hackney Council,” 2015.
  4. U. Schmutz, M. Lennartsson, S. Williams, M. Devereaux and G. Davies, “The Benefits of Food Growing for Health and Wellbeing,” 2014.
  5. Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency , “National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Results from Years 5-6 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2012/13-2013/14),” Crown Copyright , London , 2016.
  6. Public Health England, “Public Health Outcomes Framework,” 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.phoutcomes.info/public-health-outcomes-framework#page/3/gid/1000042/pat/6/par/E12000007/ati/102/are/E09000012/iid/91477/age/164/sex/4. [Accessed 14 October 2016].
  7. Ipsos MORI, “Health and Wellbeing in Hackney: Survey Report for Hackney Council,” 2015.
  8. U. Schmutz, M. Lennartsson, S. Williams, M. Devereaux and G. Davies, “The Benefits of Food Growing for Health and Wellbeing,” 2014.