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Objective: To assess the consumption of whole-grain foods in different age and sociodemographic groups in Great Britain, using data from two national surveys. Design: Cross-sectional analysis of the consumption of whole-grain foods. Setting: The 1986-87 Dietary and Nutritional Survey of British Adults and the 1994-95 National Diet and Nutrition Survey of people aged 65 years and over. Subjects: In 1986-87, 2086 British adults aged 16-64 years; 1189 British adults aged 65 years and over in 1994-95. Results: In the 1986-87 survey population, consumption of whole-grain foods increased with age. Median consumption of whole-grain foods was 1 serving per week in 16-24-year-olds and 3 servings per week in the 35-64-year-olds (P < 0.0001). In 1994-95, median consumption was 5 servings per week in adults aged 65 years and over. Overall, one-third of British adults ate no whole-grain foods on a daily basis, and less than 5% ate 3 or more servings per day. Manual occupation and smoking were consistently associated with a higher proportion of non-consumers and fewer servings per week of whole-grain foods, independent of age, sex, region and season (each P < 0.001). The main sources of whole-grain foods were wholemeal bread and breakfast cereals, which accounted for more than three-quarters of all servings. Conclusions: Consumption of whole-grain foods in the adult UK populations is more prevalent in the non-smoking, higher socio-economic groups. Amongst consumers of whole-grain foods, the frequency is similar to that reported in the USA and Norway.

Original publication




Journal article


Public Health Nutrition

Publication Date





479 - 484