Public Health Nutrition

Research Article

The North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey: survey design and methodology

KE Harringtona1 p1 c1, PJ Robsona2, M Kielya3, MBE Livingstonea2, J Lambea4 and MJ Gibneya1

a1 Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA) at: department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St. James's Hospital, Dublin 8, Republic of Ireland

a2 Northern Ireland Centre for Diet and Health (NICHE), University of Ulster, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, BT52 ISA, Northern Ireland

a3 Nutrition Sciences, Department of Food Science and Technology, University College, Cork, Republic of Ireland

a4 Institute of European Food Studies, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland


Objective The purpose of this survey was to establish a database of habitual food and drink consumption in a representative sample of Irish adults aged 18-64 years.

Design A cross-sectional food consumption survey was carried out. Food intake data were collected using a 7-day estimated food diary. Anthropometric data included measurements of weight, height, waist and hip circumferences and body composition using bioelectrical impedance analysis. Questionnaire data included assessments of health, lifestyle and socio-demographic status, levels of physical activity, attitudes to diet and health and restrained eating.

Setting Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland between 1997 and 1999.

Results In total, 1379 adults aged 18–64 years participated in the survey and completed the 7-day food diary. This paper gives details of the methods used to carry out the survey. Sampling, respondent recruitment, dietary assessment, collection of anthropometric and questionnaire data and data management and analysis are described.

Conclusion The North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey is unique in being the first food consumption survey ever to be carried out in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland concurrently using the same methodology.


c1 Email

p1 Present address: IUNA, 2nd Floor, Biotechnology Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland