Objective: To examine energy intakes (EI), their ratio to estimated basal metabolic rate (BMR(est) and the contribution of food groups to energy intake in the North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey.
Design and setting: Random sample of adults from the populations of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Food intake data were collected using a 7-day food diary. Body weight and height were measured and EI/BMR(est) was calculated from reported energy intake and estimated basal metabolic rate. Dieting practices were assessed as part of a self-administered questionnaire.
Results: Mean energy intake in men was 11.0 MJ and in women was 7.6 MJ, which is comparable to reported energy intakes in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland over a decade ago. Mean EI/BMR(est) was 1.38. This increased to 1.42 after the exclusion of dieters and those who were unwell, but still remained less than the established cut-off of 1.53. EI/BMR(est) was significantly (P<0.05) higher in men than in women and decreased significantly (P<0.05) with increasing BMI in both sexes. The four food groups that contributed 50% of energy in men and women were meat and meat products, breads and rolls, potatoes and potato products, and biscuits, cakes, pastries and puddings.
Conclusions: Energy intakes have not changed remarkably in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland in the last 10 years, but the mean EI/BMR(est) of 1.38 suggests that energy underreporting occurred. EI/BMR(est) was lower in women and in the overweight/obese. Additional multivariate analysis of the data is needed to identify more clearly subgroups of the population reporting lower than expected energy intakes and to evaluate the effect of low energy reporting on the consumption of various foods and food groups.